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The Church and the Hour 

Church and the Hour 

Reflections of a Socialist Churchwoman 

Vida D. Scudder, A.M. 

J 9 y* ■ 

New York 

E. P. Button & Co. 

681 Fifth Avenue 

T T ^- ) / T:V\ 

786085 : 

'■or:, LENOX At.'O t 

Copyright, 19 17 



Printed in the United States of America 


Although this little book is entitled Papers 
by a Socialist Churchwoman, there is no 
discussion of socialism in it. This is because 
the author does not feel that the Church at 
large should be called upon to commit itself to 
any Ism, or special set of economic doctrines. 
She does not see, to be candid, how an in- 
telligent Christian can help being a socialist. 
But that is her narrowness. She is obliged 
to confess that many devout and able minds 
do not embrace the creed so dear to her; and 
she is not concerned in this place with propa- 
ganda, but with considering the distinctive 
work and function of the Church as it is. If 
she is privately convinced that such action 
and attitude as this book calls for will lead 
all communicants ultimately to the socialist 
position, that is her own affair and might form 
the subject of another book. Her effort has 
been to pierce below controversy; to be very 
practical ; above all, to suggest only what every- 



one on reflection must agree that honest 
discipleship to the Son of Mary under modern 
conditions would involve. 

It may be noticed that some of the papers 
strike a more pessimistic and critical note 
than others in regard to the probability of the 
Church's furnishing effective social leadership. 
That is because these papers were written 
at intervals during the last five years, and 
circumstances have caused the prospect to 
appear now brighter, now darker. That the 
Introduction which is the latest written 
should also be the most optimistic, may be 
of good augury. 



Preface v 

Introduction ...... i 

The Alleged Failure of the Church to 
Meet the Social Emergency. Paper 
Presented at the Church Congress in 
Norfolk, Va., May, 191 6 . . .40 

The Church's Opportunity. (Reprinted from 
The Churchman, 191 3) . . . . 74 

Two Letters to the Masses. (Reprinted 

from The Masses, Dec., 191 5, Feb., 191 6) . 95 

Why Does Not the Church Turn Socialist? 

(Reprinted from r/ie CowwgiVa/ion, 1 91 3) . 103 

A Plea for Social Intercession. (Reprinted 

irom The Churchman) . . . .119 

The Sign of the Son of Man . . .131 


The Church and the Hour 

Christian democracy applied to indus- 
try means the development of cooperative 
relations to the fullest possible extent. 
The Church should therefore clearly 
teach the principle of the fullest possible 
cooperative control and ownership of in- 
dustry and the natural resources upon 
which industry depends, in order that 
men may be spurred to develop the 
methods that shall express this principle. 
Report oj the Commission on the 
Church and Social Service to the 
Quadrennial Meeting oj the Federal 
Council of the Churches oj Christ in 
America, December, iqi6. 

The Church and the Hour 

Papers by a Socialist Churchwoman 


The papers presented in this little book 
were written for widely varying publics. 
The longer were contributed to Church papers 
or delivered before Church audiences ; some of 
the shorter were printed in the socialist press 
and addressed to people who have no point of 
contact with the Church. But all had one 
object: to promote better understanding be- 
tween the religious world which fears social 
revolution, and the unchurched world of radical 
passion which desires it. 

These two worlds are nearer each other 
than is commonly supposed or than either 

2 The Church and the Hour 

realizes. Among radicals, the irrepressible 
hunger for spiritual experience stirs here and 
there unmistakably. And this in spite of 
bitter abuse and scorn lavished not on Christ 
Himself but on His followers. It is all very 
well to assert that "The Church is Judas 
Iscariot/' that creeds are dead and that no 
cult of an Oriental god can solve modem 
problems. One may gather such assertions 
by the handful from the pages of the radical 
press. But through the defiance of the 
authors nms more and more a note of doubt. 
For the truth is that creeds are not dead but 
very much alive, that the ''Oriental god" is 
still to countless men the one Master of the 
world's salvation, and that the churches, 
akin rather to Peter than to Judas, are almost 
awake to the peril in which they have been of 
betraying their Lord. Their vast reservoirs 
of social power have been long ice-boimd. 
But the ice is breaking, the waters begin to 
move. It is not beyond hope, that soon these 
waters may be released, to flow forth, at the 
moment when the need of the world is greatest, 
in streams that shall be for the heahng of the 

Introduction 3 

The social awakening of the churches is the 
great fact which this little book would signal, 
and in its modest way would further. 

It is full time that the critics of the Church, 
— and they are many, including some of her 
most loyal children, — should become aware 
of the advanced position which various official 
Christian groups are now taking at last on 
questions concerning social justice. From one 
point of view, to be sure, official statements 
cotmt for nothing. If too far ahead of the 
public conscience, they become inert formulas, 
and formula not translated into life are the 
ancient curse of religion. On the other hand, 
hoWever, if the Church finds no corporate 
expression for the restlessness and compunc- 
tion that consume Christian hearts to-day, 
she will soon deserve the contempt or in- 
difference which she is sure to inspire. The 
Spirit ever works at first secretly, kindling 
in the wills of the faithful fires that cannot be 
concealed; but in due time these fires light 
on the altar of the Church flames that shall 
illumine the world. 

Not very long ago, Christians who felt 
the revolutionary implications of their faith 

4 The Church and the Hour 

looked in vain to the churches for any en- 
coiiragement or endorsement. To draw out 
the social significance of the Gospels, to define 
Christian duty in terms of industrial justice 
for an industrial age, was a task wholly 
neglected and desperately necessary. As 
recently as the time of Maurice and Kingsley, 
it was attempted by English Christianity 
only through sweeping generalities if at all, 
and these noble pioneers were distrusted by 
religious authorities and silenced in religious 
circles. As lately as the time of Phillips 
Brooks, the task could be ignored by a great 
spiritual leader. But it cannot be ignored any 
longer, and the power to rest in generalities 
is past. Concrete and stinging must be the 
application of Christian ideals made by the 
Church to modem civilization and modem 
Christian lives. The last years have taught 
all who watch Europe that there are no 
heights of sacrifice to which humanity will 
refuse to rise if the summons soimds au- 

But if the Church has failed to offer any 
social leadership through official channels, at 
least the voice of great chiu-chmen pleading 

Introduction 5 

for justice has never been silent down the 
Christian ages: 

"So destructive a passion is avarice that to 
grow rich without injustice is impossible. . . . 
But what if a man succeeded to his father's 
inheritance? Then he received what has been 
gathered by injustice. For ... of the many 
who were before him somebody must un- 
justly have taken and enjoyed the goods of 
others . . . because God left the earth free to 
all alike. Why then if it is common, have you 
so many acres of land, and your neighbor has 
not a portion of it?" — Henry George is not 
speaking: that is St. Chrysostom. 

"It will be objected to holding goods in 
common that governments will perish because 
no one cares to preserve common property. 
But no, if that law were in force, states would 
be most excellently preserved. . . . For 
goods are to be cared for in proportion to their 
excellence. Now goods held in common are 
the best of all, — therefore, they must be 
cared for most perfectly." That is not a 
modem syndicalist utterance, it is Wyclif in 
his youth, writing his De Dominio Civile, 

Quotations equally telling might be mul- 

6 The Church and the Hour 

tiplied from age to age. But statements 
bearing the stamp of ecclesiastical authority 
are harder to seek. An outstanding fact is 
the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, Rerum 
Novarum, dating from 1891. It reads mildly 
enough now, but it was considered at the 
time to be very socialistic in tendency, and it 
does call for a revised concept of Christian 
duty, in the light of the modem economic 
situation. From the dawn of the twentieth 
century, expressions of social faith slowly ap- 
pear; so that some day, history may narrate 
the capture of the modem Church by a social 
Christian ideal. Among English-speaking 
Christians, the first striking group-utterance 
of the century was perhaps that of the Lam- 
beth Conference of 1908. It sotmds rather 
faint beside St. Chrysostom, but is good as 
far as it goes: 

''What is now needed is . . . groups of 
Christian men and women in every place 
determined to make it their aim to bring the 
sense of justice and righteousness which is 
common to Christianity and to Democracy, 
to bear upon the matters of every-day life in 
trade, in society, and wherever their influence 

Introduction 7 

extends: and to stir up public opinion on 
behalf of the removal of wrong wherever it 
may be found, thus making an earnest en- 
deavor to share in the transforming work of 
Christianity for their brethren and com- 
panions' sake." It would be interesting to 
know to whom this statement was due. 

In this country, viewing all organized 
Christianity together, the first impressive 
landmark is the platform adopted by the 
Federal Coimcil of Churches in Chicago, 

^'The churches must stand: 

"i. For equal rights and complete justice 
for all men in all stations of life. 

^'2. For the protection of the family, by 
the single standard of purity, uniform divorce 
laws, proper regulation of marriage, and 
proper housing. 

^'3. For the fullest possible development 
for every child, especially by the provision of 
proper education and recreation. 

'*4. For the abolition of child labor. 

^^5. For such regulation of the conditions 
of toil for women as shall safeguard the physi- 
cal and moral health of the community. 

8 The Church and the Hour 

'*6. For the abatement and prevention of 

"7. For the protection of the individual 
and society from the social, economic, and 
moral waste of the liquor traffic. 

"8. For the conservation of health. 

"9. For the protection of the worker from 
dangerous machinery, occupational diseases, 
and mortality. 

*' 10. For the right of all men to the oppor- 
tunity for self-maintenance, for safeguarding 
this right against encroachments of every 
kind, and for the protection of workers from 
the hardships of enforced unemployment. 

''11. For suitable provision for the old 
age of the workers, and for those incapacitated 
by injury. 

'*I2. For the right of employees and 
employers alike to organize; and for adequate 
means of conciliation and arbitration in indus- 
trial disputes. 

"13. For a release from employment one 
day in seven. 

"14. For the gradual and reasonable re- 
duction of the hours of labor to the lowest 
practicable point, and for that degree of 

Introduction 9 

leisure for all which is a condition of the 
highest human life. 

"15. For a living wage as a minimum in 
every industry, and for the highest wage that 
each industry can afford. 

"16. For a new emphasis upon the appli- 
cation of Christian principles to the acquisition 
and use of property, and for the most equitable 
division of the product of industry that can 
ultimately be devised." 

That document certainly registers a great 
advance on the statement of the Lambeth 
Conference. It is the work of minds trained 
not only to social emotion but to practical 
social thinking, and it is cognizant of specific 
modem issues. Claims as extreme as any 
radical could make are interspersed among 
definite points which, taken together, remind 
one of the platform of the Progressive Party, 
— a document, it may incidentally be said, 
modeled if report speak true on this very pro- 
gram. "Equal rights and complete justice for 
all men," "The abatement and prevention of 
poverty, " " The most equitable division of the 
product of industry that can ultimately be de- 
vised" . . . the words have a vigorous ring, 

lo The Church and the Hour 

and they are redeemed from the suggestion of 
verbiage without vision, by the practical propo- 
sitions in regard to child-labor, the minimum 
wage, pensions, the right to organize, the reduc- 
tion of working hours "to the lowest practicable 
point," and the like. It is an admirable pro- 
gram. It sets a mark to which many of the 
separate churches have not yet begun to attain. 
In the quadrennial meeting of the same 
Council, held in St. Louis, Dec. 191 6, this 
program was reaffirmed, with a preamble 
well worth quoting: 


The Federal Council of the Churches of 
Christ in America expresses again the deepen- 
ing conviction that the scope of the gospel 
and the program of the churches must include 
the creation on earth of a Christian civili- 
zation, organized upon the ethical teachings 
and controlled by the spirit of Jesus Christ. 

In addition to the unquestioned historic 
mission and work of Christianity with the 
individual, we understand this to involve 
certain great social accomplishments; that 

Introduction ii 

among these are: the aboHshment of war; the 
transformation of the dangerous commercial 
rivalries of the nations into a just and 
brotherly cooperation; the coming together 
on terms of equality and justice of capitalist, 
employer, workers, and the constmiing public 
in brotherly cooperative effort, and the shift- 
ing of industry from off its basis of profits 
upon that of human welfare; the lifting of the 
women of the world to a position of freedom 
and equality with the men of the world; the 
destruction of the curse of strong drink; the 
control of the infectious diseases which afflict 
humanity; the control of the vices of the race; 
the removal of the handicap of poverty from 
submerged millions of people of all nations; 
the uplift of backward races and their freedom 
from the permanent and enforced domination 
of more powerful peoples; the extension of 
democracy throughout the earth, and the 
development of its efficiency and honesty, 
with the supreme emphasis upon the spiritual 
values of human life. Many of these object- 
ives, perhaps all of them in their wider reaches 
are the work of generations ; but they are with- 
in the power of himian effort when sustained 

12 The Church said the Hour 

and scientifically organized, and henceforth 
they are to be ever before the churches. 
They call for faith and consecrated endeavor 
on an unprecedented scale. 

The whole report is full of practical and 
pertinent suggestions. 

Among the churches, the Anglican or Pro- 
testant-Episcopal, — a body rather shy of its 
own name, but at present legally known by the 
latter title — has usually been reckoned one 
of the most instinctively conservative and 
aristocratic. But the last two General Con- 
ventions have taken action which at least 
partially exonerates it from this accusation. 
The Convention meets triennially, with two 
Houses, a House of Bishops and a Lower 
House of Clergy and Lay Deputies, and it is 
the official organ of the Church. In 19 lo, 
the Convention endorsed the appointment of 
a Social Service Commission.- In 19 13, this 
Commission was actually appointed, and got 
to work, being confirmed in 1916. In the 
meantime, local Social Service Commissions 
were appointed in many provinces, dioceses, 
and parishes, until the organization of this 

Introduction 13 

new activity is on the way to become as 
thorough as that of the missionary activities 
of the Church, with which, in the mind of 
members of the Commission, it should run 
parallel. The Joint Commission has been 
occupied largely in aiding the creation of this 
machinery and in preparing itself to cooperate 
with the other commissions; it has published 
some excellent literature, it conducted an 
effective educational campaign during the 
Convention of 191 6, and it is preparing con- 
ferences on a large scale, for the consideration 
of economic and social problems from the 
strictly Christian point of view, to be held in 
different sections of the country. Its chief 
aim is not the undertaking of practical reforms, 
which must in the nature of things lie outside 
its scope, but the social education of each 
communicant and each child of the Church; 
and the reception of its study courses and 
pamphlets shows how ready the Church and 
its members are to welcome just such work. 

But the Convention did more than appoint 
a Commission. In both 191 3 and 19 16 it 
took a definite stand on social fundamentals. 
In 1 91 3, the following Resolution was passed; 

14 The Church and the Hour 

Whereas, The moral and spiritual welfare 
of the people demands that the highest possi- 
ble standard of living should everywhere be 
maintained and that all conduct of industry 
should emphasize the search for such higher 
and more human forms of organization as will 
genuinely elicit the personal definite stake in 
the system of production to which the worker's 
life is given; and 

Whereas, Injustice and disproportionate 
inequality as well as misunderstanding, preju- 
dice, and mutual distrust as between employer 
and employee are widespread in our social and 
industrial life to-day: 

Therefore, be it Resolved, The House 
of Bishops concurring, that we, the members 
of the General Convention of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, do hereby afQrm that the 
Church stands for the ideal of social justice, 
and that it demands the achievement of a 
social order in which the social cause of poverty 
and the gross himian waste of the present 
order shall be eliminated, and in which every 
member shall have a just return for what he 
produces, a free opportunity for self -develop- 
ment, and a fair share in all the gains of 

Introduction 15 

progress. And since such a social order can 
only be achieved progressively by the efforts 
of men and women who in the spirit of Christ 
put the common welfare above private gain, 
the Church calls upon every commimicant, 
clerical and lay, seriously to take part in the 
study of the complex conditions under which 
we are called upon to live, and so to act 
that the present prejudice and injustice may 
be supplanted by mutual understanding, 
sympathy, and just dealing, and the ideal 
of a thoroughgoing democracy may be fully 
realized in our land. 

That is advanced, in its outspoken repudia- 
tion of Laisser-faire, and its assertion that 
spiritual welfare demands the highest possible 
standard of living, — an assertion which sen- 
timental and other-worldly Christians are 
always loath to admit, and which indeed if 
literally and individually applied might carry 
us into strange regions. It is also fine in 
maintaining that disproportionate inequality 
obtains in social and industrial life to-day, 
and in its statement that the Church demands 
a social order in which the social cause of 

i6 The Church and the Hour 

poverty shall be eliminated. If Christians at 
large would only recognize the responsibil- 
ity of religion per se to eliminate the social 
cause of poverty, instead of claiming too often 
that religion has nothing to do with the matter, 
the struggle for justice would be half won. 

But when the Resolution passes from general 
statements to definite recommendations, it 
betrays a generation still in the fog. The non- 
committal appeal, or instruction, to commiuni- 
cants, is a decided drop from the first part of 
the statement. They are asked chiefly to 
study conditions: also, so to act that justice 
and sympathy may be promoted and the 
ideal of democracy be realized. It is true that 
study must precede action and that the first 
step onward is to create a right temper in 
Christian people, but one may doubt whether 
these general adjurations, excellent as they 
are, would make any difference to the readers 
of them. Certainly, communicants in 191 7 
ought to be and are ready for more definite 

Such guidance they get, in respect both to 
thought and action, from a Resolution passed 
at the General Convention in the autumn 

Introduction 17 

of 1 91 6. It is simpler and briefer than the 
statements hitherto quoted, and it omits all 
denimciation of the present system, as well as 
any attempt to formulate the ultimate prin- 
ciples of a Christian social order. It is ad- 
dressed to the Church as it is, not to the 
Church as radicals want it to be; for as has 
felicitously been said, the Church is not a 
radical body, but a bourgeois body touched 
with compunction. But in spite of the quiet 
tone of the Resolution, it implies the necessity 
for profound change as thoroughly as does the 
Resolution of 1913; it cuts deeper into the 
matter of private conduct and starts in at 
least on the difficult and unusual task of sug- 
gesting to Christian people precise points at 
which through their personal action social re- 
formation might begin : 

Be it Resolved, That the service of the 
community and the welfare of the workers, not 
primarily private profits, should be the aim 
of every industry and its justification; and 
that the Church should seek to keep this aim 
constantly before the mind of the public; 
and that Christians as individuals are under 

1 8 The Church and the Hour 

the obligation on the one hand conscientiously 
to scrutinize the sotirces of their income, and 
on the other hand to give moral support and 
prayer to every just effort to secure fair 
conditions and regular employment for wage- 
earners and the extension of true democracy 
to industrial matters. 

Production for use and not for private 
profit is the very nucleus of socialist theory. 
Social revolution is not too strong a phrase to 
describe the cleavage that would ensue be- 
tv/een our present methods and a civilization 
governed by that central principle in its 
economics. To call on the Church constantly 
to keep this transformation before the pub- 
lic mind is to place a new responsibility on 
every clergyman and communicant. As for 
the command that Christians scrutinize the 
sources of their incomes, it does not at first 
sotmd very drastic. St. Chrysostom and the 
socialist local will agree in going further and 
telling us that we ought not to have any 
incomes at all. Perhaps, however, if we 
scrutinize sources thoroughly and conscien- 
tiously, there may not in the long nm be much 

Introduction 19 

income left. If Christian people in general 
should discover by any chance that the sources 
of income under the present system can rarely 
bear scrutiny, when exposed to the flash- 
light of conscience, they may decide that the 
present system has got to go. 

''Moral support and prayer" for every 
just effort of the wage-earners or others to 
secure fair conditions for labor is a suggestion 
which cuts at the center. What Chris- 
tendom really prays for, it will work for and 
will gain. How much praying is the habit of 
Christian hearts as a regular part of their 
religious duty, when strikes are in progress, 
one wonders? And what about moral support? 
Too often. Church people behave as if in- 
dustrial or legislative struggles were none of 
their concern. Parochial activities, Sunday- 
Schools, Girls* Friendly, Missions, — these are 
their concern and the concern of the Church. 
The other matters are out of her province, and 
indifference masked in htimility declines to 
hold an opinion about them. All this should 
now be changed. If people obey the summons 
of the Church, as expressed both in 191 3 and 
191 6, they can no longer easily assume that 

20 The Church and the Hour 

it is none of their responsibility to make 
up their minds about the jights in a labor 
war. It is their Christian business to attend 
to such matters, to have opinions when pos- 
sible, to take sides, and to support the 
struggle of and for the workers, whenever 
they shall consider it just, — not otherwise, — 
with their sympathy and with their prayers. 
The last phrase, about the extension of de- 
mocracy to industry, may help them a little 
in this difficult matter of forming an opinion. 
It affords a guiding principle, in the light 
of which the decision where to throw one's 
sympathy in concrete cases becomes easier. 
This Resolution of 19 16 was enthusiastically 
and unanimously adopted by the Bishops, and 
endorsed by the Lower House. It is not the 
expression of a conservative-minded body, it is 
the expression of brave men. 

In the light of these statements, it is no 
longer possible to complain that the Churches 
are silent. The social feeling of individual 
Christians may still so outstrip any corpo- 
rate Church expression that it commands a 
new horizon ; but this is rarely true of their 

Introduction 21 

social action. If Church members would 
pursue the course of conduct implied in these 
recent formulae, they would make their Chris- 
tianity a visible fact, forced on the recognition 
of everyone. They would live in a mountain 
city, set on high for all to see as their Master 
pictured them, instead of settling down, con- 
tentedly to all appearance, as they mostly do 
now, among other folk in the sordid cities of 
the plain. 

' ' He that hath an ear, let him hear what the 
Spirit saith unto the Churches." 


There are two interesting points in connec- 
tion with these formulae. The first is, that in 
all of them, the attack on the existing order 
is scrupulously from the moral, not the eco- 
nomic end. The last Resolution of the Epis- 
copal Convention was even commended by the 
New York Thnes on this account! Even the 
program of the Federal Council, though it 
treads debatable ground, treads it with such 
cautious steps that it would be hard for any 

22 The Church and the Hour 

Christian to disagree with its practical de- 
mands. This reticence is wise. For it is a 
pity that the Church should take controversial 
positions with which honest Christians can 
disagree, when there are so many positions out 
of the reach of legitimate controversy which are 
nevertheless quite revolutionary in character! 
Such honest Christians ought not to have 
their freedom of thinking violated by ex- 
cathedra pronouncements from the Church. 
To be allowed to think foolishly, if we must 
think foolishly to think honestly, is a preroga- 
tive hardly won, which the race must very 
jealously guard: all of us need the protection 
of it sometimes, and to deny that sacred right 
leads straight to the Inquisition. In this new 
function of social guidance on which the 
Church is seemingly entering, she needs to 
practice very delicate discrimination. To 
get up a party which shall fight to gain the 
endorsement of the Church for this measure or 
that program is an attractive short-cut to 
social Christianity, but it is a short-cut that 
leads to By-Ends' Meadows and will end by 
plimging the Church into the morass of politics. 
Socialists claim, and rightly, that the lack of 

Introduction 23 

thinking in economic terms is fatal to a sense 
for reality, and every Christian is under orders 
to learn how to think in these terms. But the 
business of the Church as a Church is to trans- 
late them into Christian ethics. This is good 
strategics; it creates a far more salutary 
annoyance to press home the disturbing 
truths to which Christians are nominally 
committed by virtue of their allegiance, in 
language which no Christian can challenge, 
than to deal in alien technicalities. In the 
statements just quoted, it is hard to find any- 
thing which the Christian disciple could deny, 
short of making the fundamental assertion 
that the relations of men in this world are 
none of his business. This is why those 
statements are effective. Economic programs 
are necessary in their place, but one does 
not need to adopt the specious "dynamic" 
theory of the Church to see that this place is 
not in Church formulas. 

Nor does this opinion invite the Church to 
take refuge in evasive platitudes, — an easy 
alternative all too readily embraced on occa- 
sion by bishops and other clergy, not to speak 
of the laity. It means that the Church has a 

24 The Church and the Hour 

distinctive and difficult work to do. To probe 
to the quick, to trouble people, to sting them 
into courses of action that involve iinconven- 
tionality, pluck, readiness for adventure, — 
that is her duty. But this sort of result is 
gained only by direct appeal to heart and 
conscience. Possibly the teaching of the 
Church, if it is sincere, must lead those who 
obey to share the fate of their Master, Who 
was pursued by the venomous enmity of 
the respectable classes of His day, and was 
finally executed as a criminal by the unani- 
mous will of the religious and the secular 
authorities. That ought to suffice. Let the 
Church speak her own language. If bravely 
and consistently uttered, if faithfully obeyed, 
it will be found to correspond closely with 
economic theories quite at variance with 
those on which society now more or less 
uneasily reposes; and, under pressure from 
two diverse directions making for one same 
end, the world may find itself transformed. 

The other point to notice about these 
statements is that the Church is not appealing 
especially to the working classes. She is not 
thinking in terms of class at all. What is in 

Introduction 25 

her mind is no movement pushed from behind 
by the sharp prong of economic distress, it is 
rather a general movement impelled by such 
single-hearted passion for justice as should be 
common to all people. And here again, her 
policy will discredit her in many radical minds. 
Those who cling to the Marxian bcHef that 
substantial progress is won only by the 
rebellion of the oppressed, will scorn the ap- 
peal to disinterested action. Nor are the 
Marxians alone. Whether one looks at nations 
or at classes, a widespread feeling that no 
group of men will ever act contrary to their 
own interests, and that the future of the world 
must be determined by balance of greeds, cuts 
the nerve of idealist effort. Some w^arm ideal- 
ists are among those who distrust a general 
appeal. They too feel that the slow pressure 
of the working classes toward power is the 
one effective hope for freedom ; and they think 
that the most useful thing for a lover of justice 
to do is to unclass himself and to throw in his 
lot with the proletarian struggle. 

Now there is a misunderstanding here 
which needs to be cleared up. 

It is true that this upward movement of men 

26 The Church and the Hour 

seeking expansion and freedom is the most 
salient and inevitable fact of history. For 
the first sacred duty imposed on nations, on 
classes, on individuals, is the search for life's 
fulfillment. Fullness of life must precede any 
impulse toward sacrifice. Life must be whole 
before it can be offered ; there was no mutila- 
tion of Our Lord's Body on the Cross. It 
was a perfect Humanity which there gave 
itself in an oblation full, perfect, and sufficient 
for the sins of the whole world. 

And so, while the Church cannot endorse 
the crass forms of economic determinism, and 
will never yield to a materialistic interpreta- 
tion of history, she is not debarred from warm 
sympathy with the class struggle. Far from 
being debarred from such sympathy. Chris- 
tian people are called to it. So long as they 
can applaud the self-defense of a small nation, 
they cannot condemn the self-defense of a 
weak class. Beyond the fogs in which we 
grope, shines the fair intermittent vision of a 
non-resistant humanity; we look at it wist- 
fully and honor those conscientious objectors 
who even now seek to walk in its light. But 
to invoke that vision when a big people 

Introduction 27 

tramples down a little people, is not yet 
within the compass of much Christian thought. 
Equally beyond that compass should be dis- 
approval or indifference toward the fight of 
working-class groups to preserve or enlarge 
their liberties. Feeble girl garment -workers 
learning to stand together for their rights 
with the light of battle dawning in their eyes, 
respond to the rhythmic stress which is 
evolving life throughout the universe; they 
are part of the God-consciousness ever quick- 
ening in the clay. The struggle for freedom is 
righteous and religious, whether it be found 
in striking miner or in outraged nation, and 
Christian hearts must recognize in it the 
motions of the Lord and Giver of Life. 

Yet this struggle, whether in the form of 
demand for better wages and hours, or for 
political independence, is on the lower range 
of human action, on the range of the natural 
life. The Church is one with nature, one it 
may almost be said with common sense, in 
approving it; but the Church as Church has 
no relation to it at all. For her business is 
with life on the higher level, the life regenerate. 
On this level she must teach, from this level 

28 The Church and the Hour 

she must appeal. Her distinctive song is not 
the Marseillaise, though she does not forbid 
her children to sing it; it is the Vexilla 
Regis, The Royal Banner under which her 
host advances against the host of evil, is the 
banner of the Cross. 

Naturally, the world scoffs, nor can any one 
be surprised at its scepticism in face of the 
spectacle of history. Perhaps non-religious 
people may long have to remain bound in the 
chains of scepticism and economic determin- 
ism; perhaps the best they can share is the 
lower though holy enthusiasm of the fighters 
for freedom on the lower plane. None the 
less, the Church knows that the world is 
wrong. Hers is no cynic distrust, no pseudo- 
scientific fatalism. She is aware of a secret 
principle, working counter to the indrawing 
principle that claims and appropriates, — the 
outgoing principle that sacrifices and gives. 
The Church knows that man is the child of 
God by adoption and grace, and that he can 
rise to God-like action ; for she has marked his 
brow with the Holy Sign. Baptismal Regen- 
eration is a doctrine consigned to the rear of 
most Christian minds. If it means anything, 

Introduction 29 

it means a triumphant refutation of the 
determinist. It asserts that Christian folk 
can be appealed to en masse, to act on a 
supernatural level, where their private inter- 
est will yield instinctively and as a matter 
of course, to the general good. 

The Church's faith in a regenerate human- 
ity is not much in evidence just now. To 
regain it, she must descend into the depths of 
her most mystical convictions. If she can get 
even a wee mustard-seed measure of that 
faith, she can say to the mountains of class- 
greed and privilege. Be ye cast down and 
thrown into the sea. They would crumble 
away, those mountains, they would fall in 
crashing avalanche, down, down, till no vestige 
of them remained. Her opportunity and her 
power are unique, if she will greatly dare. 
Her beHef that the whole body of Christian 
people coming under her jurisdiction can and 
must be raised to distintercsted social action, 
makes her mistress of a province all her own. 
It is her distinctive contribution to the present 
crisis. So far, she has at best only reiterated 
what other right-minded bodies are saying, 
but it is inconceivable that she should pause 

30 The Church and the Hour 

there. Far from merely echoing approval of 
measures which secular agencies endorse, 
which even the Government in some cases 
begins to further, she might take the initiative. 
Her work is not to announce new economic 
theories, it is only incidentally to approve 
specific programs. It is to insist that her 
children sift theories uncompromisingly in the 
light of Christian idealism; it is above all to 
offer the incentive which shall draw men to try 
the Great Adventure of Christian living in 
terms of the new age. 


The Church must not only call to action, 
she must show the way to it. And that is more 
difficult, for even honest eyes see such a tangle 
of paths ! And the Hill of Calvary, from which 
the only true way reaches, rises very far from 
modern vision. But perhaps in these heart- 
rending days, eyes purged with tears are grow- 
ing more able to discern it. 

Two special phases of social consecration are 
demanded by the present crisis. The one con- 
cerns the private life of the individual, the other 
the group-life of the Christian community. 

Introduction 31 

As to the private life: in one direction, the 
Christian worid has been sufficiently in- 
structed. One would not dare say that it did 
its duty, but certainly unless it is deaf it 
knows where that duty lies. This is the 
direction of practical activity. Social Service 
is the word of the hour, and the constant 
message of the pulpit calls people to devote 
themselves to it. Optimism sees most people 
obeying the call. Nearly all serious-minded 
folk give a large portion of their spare time, 
not to amusement or self-culture, but to one 
of the multiform modem ways of promoting 
the Kingdom of God. If one sometimes 
wonders whether it was meant that this 
Kingdom should be promoted by sitting on 
committees, one crushes the unworthy thought. 
If a good deal of effort is amateurish and 
wasted, one renews one's faith that aim and 
effort are the really creative things. Splendid 
works are carried on effectively, — till one 
measures them against the need they try to 
meet. And better perhaps than all Church 
activities, is the other effect of the ideal of 
service: the socializing of the professions. In 
every pursuit, the motive of service can be 

32 The Church and the Hour 

made central. If it cannot, that is no pursuit 
for Christian men. 

But beyond action, He the more searching 
questions connected with fundamental atti- 
tude toward possessions, toward the world. 
And here each socially enlightened Christian 
must judge for himself. The Church, catching 
up with her more progressive members, begins 
to demand the application of Christian ethics 
to regions once left to the control of automatic 
law, like buying goods and investing money. 
A pioneer excitement attaches to the pene- 
tration of these regions. And very soon, in 
reaction from the difficulties encountered 
there, comes the obvious suggestion, since the 
present order is so involved in wrong that to 
Christianize it is at best a task of infinite 
subtlety and delicacy, and at worst may 
prove impossible, — ^why not leave it alto- 
gether? From the earliest Christian days, 
ardent souls have yearned for a complete 
renimciation of the world. Is not the way 
out a new Franciscanism, which shall lure 
men to throw away all that others hold 
precious in a divine madness, and to abandon 
themselves recklessly to love? 

Introduction 33 

If it could be done! But how can it? The 
entire repudiation of worldly goods, the 
severance from earthly ties, so familiar to 
exalted and eager souls in the Middle Ages, — 
are we self -deceived in finding it harder to 
compass now than then ? Short of a monastery 
or a desert, neither of which was Francis's 
idea or the idea of Jesus, one cannot renounce 
the world. It creeps into the tissue of our 
simplest clothing, it lurks in our shelters, it 
penetrates our food. And ought one to try to 
renounce it? Apart from the basic impossibil- 
ity of the thing, apart from one's weakness, 
two obstacles stand in the way. 

The first is our honest modern disbehef in 
asceticism. We no longer feel the world to be 
a peril or an evil, we find in it the Sacrament of 
God's Presence, and the motive driving men to 
withdraw from it is no longer plain. Perhaps 
we moderns are making a mistake here. It is 
conceivable that a reaction may come, and 
an ascetic revival, perhaps reaching us from 
the East, may be in order. But, the second 
obstacle is more surely honorable, for it is 
found in the very growth of social feeling. 
Twentieth-century minds cannot sympathize 

34 The Church and the Hour 

unreservedly with St. Francis flinging his 
garments in his father's face; they cannot 
help thinking of the father! The tender 
duties, that held Tolstoy to the end from his 
heart's desire, hold us all. This is not weak- 
ness. It is the growth of democracy, making 
us indifferent to saving ourselves by ourselves, 
inhibiting us from claiming perfection at the 
cost of hurt to others. We are all involved 
together, and to break loose, leaving our dear 
ones in the net, is no way to follow Love. 
That old selfish way, which ended in serenely 
creating a spiritual aristocracy, was natural 
to aristocratic ages, but it is now alien to our 
best instincts. We no longer find our solution 
in a segregated Christianity; for we have 
learned to pray. Thy Kingdom come on earth. 
Not that we Christians are wholly thrown 
back by any means on self-indulgence and 
conformity. It is our business to obey the 
Church, to apply her now specific commands: 
We are to profit by exploitation as little as we 
possibly can; to simplify our lives to the 
farthest feasible degree; to practise detach- 
ment, and consecration, in the interior life of 
the soul. But we must tread warily lest we 

Introduction 35 

tread on hearts; and in seeking the far vision 
we may not neglect the primary tendernesses 
which also are of God. 

But just as the old line of escape from sin 
grows more obscure, new lines are opening. 
The day is to the common life, the common 
effort. What we are not able to do as in- 
dividuals, we may do all together, or through 
group-action. To use a homely simile, many 
Christians find themselves caught on the 
branches of a great tree, the tree of privilege. 
They do not quite know how to climb down, 
but they have the axe of the law in their 
hands, and they can apply themselves to saw- 
ing off the branch they sit on. No less than 
this, probably, is demanded of them by their 
religion, and it is consoling to reflect that, 
though a tumble may hurt, the ground is a 
good place after all. 

Suppose all Church members brought their 
allegiance in great groups to movements which 
aim at restoring land and other wealth on 
equal terms to all men, and at placing the 
control of production in part at least in the 
hands of the producers. It is a startling hy- 
pothesis, but it is not inconceivable. Already 

36 The Church and the Hour 

it is happening in a measure. The Kingdom 
of God Cometh not with observation, and it 
will never be possible to estimate the direct 
share of Christian idealism in recent progress 
toward industrial democracy. But the hour 
has come to increase that share dramatically 
and visibly. The sight of Christendom has 
surely braced and sobered Christian thought. 
If we are to avoid such catastrophe as has 
fallen on our neighbors, we must immediately 
apply Christianity to life, we must try to re- 
store justice in America at the roots of things. 
Our prosperity, won at such fearful cost to 
other nations, gives us such chance at expia- 
tion and at social experiment as we have 
never had before ; and the distinctive contribu- 
tion of religion to the modem crisis is to 
encourage its more prosperous disciples to 
ally themselves with the tendencies which will 
impoverish them and handicap their power. 
In spite of all discouraging facts, which the 
following papers clearly recognize, the Church 
is beginning to say brave words. It is for her 
members to seal them with brave deeds. 

Introduction 37 


If in these papers the note of criticism 
sounds harsh at times, let it not be the last 
to linger on the ear. Not for a moment can a 
child of the Church forget the faithfulness of 
the "Mighty Mother" in fulfilling her primary- 
duty. That duty is to keep open the channel 
between the temporal and the Eternal, through 
sacraments, through the Word of God, through 
all those disciplines of the interior life sanctified 
by the experience of questing generations. Un- 
nimibered souls fed at her iVltars day by day 
by the Bread of Pilgrims, will attest that she 
is true to her charge. To ignore this secret 
sacred work, to throw it into the background 
while impatient stress is put wholly on Church 
responsibility for solving social problems, 
would be to join the forces of Anti-Christ. 
The enduring task and glory of the Church 
is to foster in man the consciousness of God 
and to help him to union with his Maker. 

But salvation, which is health and whole- 
ness, can be won by no man alone. Social ac- 
tion becomes the swift correlative of spiritual 
vision. The regenerate man is the citizen of 

38 The Church and the Hour 

that Kingdom of Justice which is the Kingdom 
of God. And as perpetual intercession rises 
in the words of the Lord's own prayer, for the 
coming of this kingdom on earth, our social 
passion becomes, as it were, incorporated with 
our very conception of God. For He whom we 
adore is God on the Rood of the world. It is 
the God involved in the process of time, in 
the flux of mortal history: the God defeated, 
crucified. Whom we, by His mysterious will 
must aid if He is to come to His own. Our 
hands, alas, have nailed Him to that cross; 
without our help He cannot, because He will 
not, descend from it ; and to aid Him we must 
climb to His side. Always men try to evade, 
to find ways of consecrating life without 
sacrificing it. And always, in measure as 
they are near to Christ, they fail. By the 
cross ^'the world is crucified imto me, and 
I unto the world.'' If the phrase is to re- 
gain a lost reality, it must be translated into 
social terms. The "world" to which it refers, 
to which it bids us be crucified, must be the 
world of the banker, of the merchant; of the 
solid business men who are the support of 
parishes; of the ladies from the leisure class 

Introduction 39 

who carry on the work of the Church. Love, 
seeking to save, saving if need be by dying, 
must be the inward law, expressed in outward 
life, related to actual present conditions, of 
every soul in-oned with Christ in the work 
of world-redemption. 

In proportion as the Church can show how 
such sacrificial love can manifest itself through 
the present industrial and political situation, 
she will furnish the moral and spiritual leader- 
ship for the lack of which modern radicalism 
despises her, and the absence of which in that 
very radicalism makes the radical movement, 
to a Christian, superficial and suspect. ^ 


(a paper read at the church congress held in 


Be it said at the outset that the title of 
this paper is not of my choosing. I should 
have left out the word ''alleged.'* 

The failure of the Church seems patent 
to-day when one looks at the spectacle of the 
world. Over in Europe, they say, many 
crosses have been spared in the general de- 
vastation, — so strangely spared that whispers 
of miracle pass about. On the roads over 
which move grim processions marching to 
kill, sad processions retreating to suffer, the 
Christ looks down: 

» Reprinted from The Yale Review, January, 191 7. 

The Church and the Hour 41 

"His sad face on the Cross sees only this, 
After the passion of two thousand years.'* 

Sometimes the figure stands unscathed when 
the Church that sheltered it is a ruin. Here 
is such a picture: 

''All that is left of the building is a few 
white arches. Leaning forward from what re- 
mains of the wall at one end is a pale Figure, 
with arms widely extended, a wreath of 
thorns on its head. Shells have smashed 
away from it the wooden cross to which the 
arms were nailed ; they seem now opened wide 
in a gesture of entreaty. . . . One must 
admit the ironic contrast of a Christ un- 
scathed in a shattered Church. The per- 
sistence of the Figure, the dissolution of the 
fabric! The Church is man's interpretation 
of Christianity: but the Church has disap- 
peared in this war of Christians; the Christ 

So the onlooker, expressing a widely spread 
attitude. And what can those say to whom 
the Church is infinitely more than ''man's 
interpretation of Christianity"? To them 
also, are not these Calvaries looking down on 

42 The Church and the Hour 

battle-fields a tragic symbol, not of war only 
but of the civilized world? 

If these years teach anything new, it is 
that civilization per se has little especially 
admirable about it. Civilization is no end 
in itself, as men have assumed it to be; it is 
merely an instrument, to be turned to use 
either by the forces of evil or by the forces 
of good. Have the forces of good, led by 
the churches, yet captured it? The answer, 
No, rises confused but unmistakable; the war 
has brought into terrible relief the persistent 
fact, that the Church, divided, hesitant, 
backward, has apparently no contribution 
to make, as an official body, either toward 
the healing of the nations or toward the 
healing of social disorders. 

In Europe, churches are in use as observa- 
tion-posts ; they serve as shelter to the wounded 
or the homeless; from time to time the One 
Sacrifice is pleaded piteously from their 
ruined altars. But in collective effort to 
prevent the horror or to end it, the Church 
has been helpless. In effort to de-Paganize 
industrial and social life, is she not equally 
helpless the world over? Despite the frequent 

The Church and the Hour 43 

facile assumption that Christianity has under- 
gone a great social revival, the reply must 
be, Yes. Religion has consoled the bereaved, 
it has strengthened the dying, it has established 
vast works of philanthropy ; but for any states- 
manlike attempt to evolve justice between 
nations or classes by the application of the 
law of Christ, men have looked to it in vain. 

Last December I saw a strange Christmas 
tree. It was in the home of a German friend, 
whose tree is usually lovely with the radiant 
symbols of the Christ-Child. This year, no 
star, no angel, graced the summit; there was 
no manger at the base, with adoring shep- 
herds and sweet Mother-Maid. The tradi- 
tional eagle of Odin spread his wings on the 
topmost twig, and the snake, whom our 
Northern forefathers saw at the roots of the 
world-tree Ygdrasil, coiled with red tongue 
poisonously stuck out, high among the 
branches. ''The tree has always belonged 
to the snake; it was a mistake to suppose 
that the Christ-Child had killed him," said 
my friend bitterly. 

No, let us not say "alleged." ''Alleged" 
has a defiant note. It calls for an apologia. 

44 The Church and the Hour 

a rebuttal. But in this year of grace,— 
and sin — excuse is no attitude for the Church 
or her children. Corporate penitence be- 
hooves us rather. We belong on our knees 
confessing our wrong-doing, not on our feet 
defending ourselves. 


The normal tissue of our national life has 
obviously not been woven by Christianity. 
Our economic and industrial order is the nat- 
ural outgrowth of forces with which religion 
has had nothing whatever to do. Many of 
these forces are to-day generally regarded as 
obsolescent; and the indictment against the 
Church is that she does nothing in particular 
to hasten their disappearance. 

It is an indictment hard to disprove, but 
not particularly hard to explain. Though 
Christians be penitent, they must also regard 
the situation with common sense, and rec- 
ognize the fallacy that mingles with truth 
in radical attacks on the Church. 

These attacks habitually speak of the Church 
as if she were a separate body, responsible for 

The Church and the Hour 45 

converting State and society. The truth is 
more subtle. The Church is not a separate 
body, it is an interpenetrating force. The 
baptized individuals who compose it are to a 
large degree the same who compose State and 
society, and the Church in her corporate 
action can never take a stand which her 
members in their other capacities would 

Suppose five people constitute the Church 
in a certain village. Henry is a mill-owner, 
Patrick a hand in his factory, Mary is Pat- 
rick's wife, John a clerk in the bank, Kate is 
John's daughter, married to a stockholder in 
Henry's mill. Problem: to gain from these 
people a corporate mind concerning the wage- 
scale in that mill. One other person must be 
added: Peter, the parson. Now there is 
much to be said in favor of an old custom by 
which the Church in that community meant 
just Peter and nobody else. That custom, 
however, is obsolete among us; and regret is 
less, because it was partly based on the assump- 
tion that Peter was a perfectly disinterested 
person as well as a specialist in morals. Un- 
fortunately, Peter's social relations are mainly 

46 The Church and the Hour 

with Henry and his family; moreover, he 
derives his subsistence from Henry. I believe 
this fact does not always prejudice him, but 
it does make his situation difficult, especially 
as he uses most of his salary to educate some 
heathen in the far Black Country. 

And the community expects the Cbarch to 
solve the labor-problem! 

Now of course a large share of responsibility, 
though not the whole, does devolve on Peter. 
The clergy must guide us. But the point is 
that the business of the Church, as repre- 
sented by Peter and his flock, is not to work 
from outside on a recalcitrant world, but to 
accomplish the far more difficult task of 
converting itself, — a task so difficult that it 
would never be accomplished save by the aid 
of supernatural grace. 

In this interpenetration of Church and 
world, the reason is found for that lagging 
timidity which keeps the Church as an institu- 
tion in the rear rather than in the van of social 
progress. We shall never again see a Church 
dictating terms to the secular world, unless 
we return to the discarded method of trusting 
her decisions to a hierarchy instead of to the 

The Church and the Hour 47 

whole body of the faithful; and that was 
not a particularly successful method, for ever 
since the Gift of Constantine, clergy as well 
as laity have remained a part of the very 
order which they would transform. It would 
therefore seem hopeless to expect from the 
Church a standard immeasurably ahead of her 
time. The positions she takes can hardly be 
quite out of reach of the common mind, for 
the common mind has dictated them. 

How disparate the elements are which com- 
pose this mind is evident as soon as any 
common action is sought. To prove the slow 
growth of the social sense it is only necessary 
to try praying together without falling back 
on liturgies. Union in prayer must surely 
precede imion in action; but in any praying 
group concerned with the social situation, 
each member will try to press his own specific, 
and the formulas may tend ludicrously to 
neutralize each other. Here is a petition 
that the socialist party may gain votes, here 
one for the suppression of socialism; here 
pleads a suffragist, here an anti. And pre- 
paredness! What a Babel of voices, all 
perfectly good Christian voices, has been 

48 The Church and the Hour 

buzzing of late around the Throne! That 
they all may be One, prayed Our Blessed 
Lord ; but He never meant one in opinion. 


Yet when the very utmost is allowed for 
contradictions in Christian thought, when 
inclusiveness is pushed to the limit, it will be 
found that there is a region below opinion, 
deeper than dissent. In certain basic social 
principles unity must obtain, otherwise the 
Church must simply cease to be. These 
principles are so plain that, once stated. Chris- 
tians have no option. They are indissolubly 
related to the peculiar treasures which the 
Church exists to guard. Who, nurtured on 
the Sacrament of Brotherhood, can stay 
contented with our present social order when 
once eyes have been opened? Who can really 
read the Gospels and fail to find them a 
disturbing force? In the intimacies of Chris- 
tian experience, in the very sanctuary of 
faith, men seeking to learn the mind of Christ 
discover over and over the revolutionary 
nature of true discipleship : 

The Church and the Hour 49 

'' Where'er His chariot takes its way 
The gates of death let in the day." 

This has always been the case. However 
conservative the Church has been in her 
corporate and official capacity, radicals in all 
ages have been nursed at her breasts. But it is 
more the case to-day than at any previous 
time since the first century; for modern 
Christendom has awakened with a start of 
recognition to the historic purpose of her 
Master, — the establishment of the Kingdom 
of God on earth. This means the moralizing 
of life in its ultimate practical relations. 
Through the roar of battle and of factory, 
the Master's summoning Voice sounds stem. 

Moreover, while the Church has lagged 
behind, great lay movements of unrest and 
of reconstruction have arisen and clamor for 
allegiance. She has not originated these 
movements; we must accept the fact that 
her official spirit cannot be adventurous. 
But when other adventurers have blazed the 
trail, she will be eternally disgraced if she 
does not follow. 

Discrimination is necessary. There are 

50 The Church and the Hour 

phases in these movements on which she can 
have no convictions. To measures Hke suf- 
frage or anti-suffrage, to theories Hke sociaHsm 
or syndicalism or single-tax, the Church can- 
not commit herself, though her members will 
naturally use their Christian ideals as a 
touchstone for all such propositions. There 
are other phases where her inaction would be 
a scandal and a crime. Perhaps the type of 
social reforms which Christianity must en- 
dorse, or perish, might be described by the 
phrase, ''preliminaries to sanctification." It is 
an awkward phrase; but it obviously covers 
all measures aiming directly at the preserva- 
tion of personality; it would apply to move- 
ments, legislative or private, demanding social 
sacrifice and self-control. It would include 
every statement in the admirable program 
of the Federation of Churches.^ 

Many points in this program deal with 
industrial conditions, and with these, sanc- 
tification may at first sight appear to have 
little to do. But a moment's thought shows 
that it has a great deal. The Church, like 
her Master, is in a v/ay more concerned over 
the spiritual state of the prosperous than over 

» See p. 7 ff. 

The Church and the Hour 51 

that of the poor, and her anxiety about social 
justice springs largely from the fact that 
so long as the rich and fortunate countenance 
unbrotherly things, sanctification is impossible 
for them. It may be good for the soul of 
Patrick to subsist on a starvation wage, but 
it is very bad for the soul of Henry the mill- 
owner to pay him that wage. It is spiritual 
suicide for the possessors of privileges to 
rest, until such privileges become the common 
lot. This truth is what the Church should 
hold relentlessly before men's eyes; it is what 
makes indifference to social readjustments 
impossible to her shepherding love. 

One does not see the sanctified man, for 
instance, defending his property rights with 
passion. A proposal has been made in a 
report of the Industrial Relations Commission 
that private bequests be limited to a million 
dollars. This is a reasonable and moderate 
proposal. It does not attack private pro- 
perty, but merely limits it at a point far 
above what most people reach, and no Chris- 
tian mind would surely stoop to the meanness 
of claiming that it would unduly lessen 
incentive. It would deliver many men from 

52 The Church and the Hour 

fearful temptations, — a result for which we 
are told to pray. Incidentally, non-Christian 
moralists are pleading for self-limitation in 
wealth as the next step in the higher ethics. 
Now in view of Christ's persistent feeling 
that it is dangerous to be rich, — a feeling 
that no subtle exegesis has ever succeeded 
in explaining away, — one might have expected 
to see His disciples, His Church, eagerly wel- 
come the plan and press it with enthusiasm. 
Did one see this spectacle? One did not. 

Again, no Christian can remain indifferent 
or non-partisan toward movements for the 
protection of the weak. If the Church really 
possessed that homely family sense so touch- 
ingly expressed in the collect for Good Friday, 
most social problems would be solved. It 
may be materialistic to object to external 
poverty and sordidness ; but no one has a right 
to say so unless he is prepared to welcome 
such conditions for his own relatives. It 
may be superficial to look to legislation as a 
cure for social evils; but the people who 
think so must be prepared with other cures. 
They must not be permitted to fall back on 
charity, whether ''scrimped and iced" or 

The Church and the Hour 53 

warm and efficient; that solution is far out- 
grown. Neither may they dismiss the subject 
with the sententious remark that the one thing 
necessary is a change of heart. Necessary? 
Certainly! Change of heart is the beginning, 
it is not the end. Changed hearts all around, 
by hundreds and by thousands, are trying 
to express their conversion in social action. 
Has the Church no guidance to give to hearts 
when they have been changed? 

If such matters as those indicated have 
nothing to do with the Church, then the 
Church has nothing to do with righteousness. 
The hour has come for Christian thought to 
give definite sanction to the new social ethic 
that has been developing for the last half 
century. The check by common will on 
private greed, the care for public health, the 
protection of childhood and manhood, the 
securing of fair leisure from the monotonies of 
modem labor, form a program hardly to be 
called radical any longer. It is accredited by 
all the progressive forces of the community, 
it forms the backgroimd of respectable modem 
thinking. But it has not yet emerged into 
respectable doing. That is another matter; 

54 The Church and the Hour 

involving effort and sacrifice. Is not this 
just where the Church might come in? She 
has missed the cliance at initiative ; the chance 
of performance remains with her. 

Let us not for a moment tolerate the con- 
temptuous excuse for her too frequent silence, 
proffered by the radicals, — that her resources 
come from the sinners. Perhaps there are 
no sinners; perhaps there are only good men, 
blind. But assuredly they are very blind, 
Is the Church habitually giving them help 
to see? Is Church membership a guarantee 
that in time of stress a man will act on a higher 
level than mere business honor? A group 
of manufacturers fights organized labor, only 
to acknowledge, when the strike is won, that 
a rise was well warranted by the profits. 
Confronted by this disgraceful sight, does any 
one think to enquire how many of these 
employers were Church-members? 

The standards of the Church in this matter 
of social morality should be no niggling mini- 
mimi. They should be bold and explicit. 
She should make every Christian woman 
ashamed of herself so long as she neglects to 
secure a cleaner conscience by buying Con- 

The Church and the Hour 55 

simier's League goods. She should make 
every Christian man ashamed of himself, so 
long as he is unable or unwilling to pay a 
living wage to his least employee. She should 
bid dividend holders be prepared to suffer 
rather than to profit by the exploitation of 
the laborer. Shrunken dividends can cause 
much distress, but as a class, by and large, the 
dividend holders are better off than the wage- 
earners. Poorest first is Christian law. Just 
wages should be the first consideration, rea- 
sonable dividends the second, personal profits 
for the directors the last. To reverse the 
order is usual nowadays; but it is Pagan. 

And is it too much to hope that where a 
moral issue is plain, the Church might even 
occasionally get a little ahead of the com- 
munity conscience, instead of always lagging 
a little in the rear? 

Concerning that matter of dividends, for 
example. There is a growing healthy touchi- 
ness everywhere about the sources of wealth. 
In England feeble protests even arise, — oh, 
the shame of it! — against bishops' holding 
shares in breweries. As social imagination 
quickens, it becomes harder to accept income 

56 The Church and the Hour 

without knowing what that income connotes. 
Some radicals, to be sure, do not beheve in 
the principles of interest at all ; and it does no 
harm to dream of a day when the complex 
system involving it will be replaced by a more 
direct relation between services and rewards, 
class distinctions vanishing in consequence. 
But in the meantime many people must 
continue to live on the proceeds from stocks 
and bonds; and it is reasonable to wish to 
be sure that the money has not been gathered 
at the cost of cruelty or graft. 

To profit by conditions which leave one 
uneasy is demoralizing and dangerous. A 
quarter century ago, much uneasiness concen- 
trated itself among women upon the morale of 
buying; to meet it arose the Consumers* 
League. To-day the Christian stockholders 
of the United States begin to demand a White 
List of investments. Such a list if heeded 
would introduce a new principle into investing, 
quite apart from the size or security of the 
dividend. It would be a terrible nuisance. 
It would call for real sacrifice. Dozens of 
cogent reasons prove it impossible. In famous 
words, I am not concerned with the possibility 

The Church and the Hour 57 

of it, — only with the necessity. Perhaps it 
cannot be done, but that is a serious conclu- 
sion to reach. For the only Christian alter- 
native to moralizing the present order is to 
abolish it, and if the Church cannot accomplish 
the first alternative, she must address herself 
with all speed to the second — which spells 

Obviously, the Church is not herself com- 
petent to draw up such a white list of in- 
vestments. Only trained experts could carry 
through so delicate, so intensely difficult a 
task. But I submit that it is for her to crys- 
tallize and encourage the new demand in the 
name of the torn consciences of her children. 
Through pulpits, forums, Sunday-schools, 
guilds, conferences, she can hold it clear 
before the public eye. Organized groups of 
Christian stockholders, studying the problem, 
feeling their way toward concerted action, 
rise before the fancy. And why could not 
the Church appoint her own commission of 
experts? She raises great funds: funds for 
philanthropy, for missions, for the relief of her 
aged clergy. Why not a fund to render her 
more fortunate children secure that their 

$8 The Church and the Hour 

income is not drawn from Sirnday labor, child- 
labor, or any unfair exploitation of the workers? 
The mere existence of such a commission 
would give her new status among reformers 
and among those alienated from her. It would 
serve as a visible witness that organized 
Christianity was in earnest. It would more- 
over tend automatically to establish the 
standard it approved, for it would offer strong 
moral support to the many in the younger 
generation of employers and financiers whose 
hearts are set on the improvement of industrial 


Schemes are easy to propose. This one 
calls for limitless wisdom, intelligence, tact, and 
pluck. And all the while the smooth voices 
of the world proclaim the status quo so pleas- 
ant, — and insinuate so plausibly that questions 
of this sort are irrelevant to religion! 

The world has always taken the same line. 
The Church used to solve the problem of 
standards more easily in some ways than she 
can now. Formerly as always she worked in 
two fashions, — by permeating the ideals of 

The Church and the Hour 59 

society, and by contradicting them. A level 
of conduct slightly higher than if there had 
been no Church at all was accepted without 
qualms for the majority; but severe Coimsels 
of Perfection shone aloft, luring the valiant 
to follow. And follow they did in throngs, — 
Regulars, Third Orders, Confraternities, — the 
chivalry of Christ, aiming at literal obedience 
to Him, vowed to conduct that contradicted 
at vital points the standards around them. 
We are all for permeation nowadays, and 
perhaps, — though the claim is timid, — religion 
really permeates a little more than it did. 
But there would be difficulty in reasserting 
the counsels. Mixing up mediocrity with 
democracy in our usual way, we have grown 
insensibly to such feeling for the common 
man that we distrust demands which he is not 
likely to approve. Also, the asceticism which 
held that holiness must repudiate life has 
yielded to enthusiasm for life in its fullness. 
These instincts are in their way creditable 
enough; but they result in a slackening of 
Christian ethics. As the Bishop of Oxford 
said years ago, religion suffers from diffusion 
at the cost of intensity. 

6o The Church and the Hour 

What accredited type of piety did the 
United States inherit from the last century? 
Suave-mannered, pleasant-voiced; endanger- 
ing nothing in particular, an ornament to the 
Sunday pews; devoted to good causes in 
proportion to their remoteness, intent on 
promoting safe philanthropies and foreign 
missions, but, so far as home affairs are con- 
cerned, ignorant alike of the ardors of the 
mystic and the heroisms of the reformer. A 
queer type of Christianity if one thinks of it, 
— cheerfully assuming that what is innocently 
agreeable is religious. Agonies of the social 
conscience deprecated in the name of spiritual- 
ity, agonies of the inward life yet more depre- 
cated in the name of sanity. No agonies at 
all, if you please: careless dependence rather 
on an affectionate God, confusedly mixed 
with a sentimental love of scenery. Parents 
more concerned with hygiene than with salva- 
tion for their offspring; sacrifice relegated to 
the foreign field, or to underpaid social 
workers. A domestic religion, mid- Victorian 
in effect, calculated to make life pleasant in 
the family circle, — but curiously at ease in 

The Church and the Hour 6i 

That was about what Christianity meant in 
many a home three years ago. 

Then came the war, with its appeal for 
devotion to the uttermost; and the peoples of 
Europe responded with a sort of sacred joy. 
They obey the call of governments to destroy 
fellow-men at any personal cost in the name of 
patriotism; and their readiness puts to shame 
the failure of the Church to enlist them for the 
protection of manhood, in the holier Name of 

The excuse for the contrast is of course 
that men will always be ready to defend ancient 
sanctities; it requires imagination as well as 
courage to break new ways for Love to enter. 
Yet how tempting to picture a new crusade, 
that should win for Christ the whole sphere 
of social and industrial relations! Here is 
the Adventure of the waiting world; and the 
Church should call men to it with a trumpet. 

In the great strange years to come, will she 
call them ; will she guide them? On the answer 
lies the salvation of civilized life. Battle- 
smoke overhangs those years: it drifts across 
the narrow seas, so blinding that we in America 
cannot discern our future. But this is sure, 

62 The Church and the Hour 

that after the war old evils will be fiercer than 
ever, while aspirations toward righteousness 
also will be fired with a new intensity. Reali- 
ties become masked with the advance of 
civilization. Many masks have fallen now, 
many conventions are destroyed. The social 
order is seen stark naked: it is not a lovely 
sight. In passing, one may notice that the 
convulsion which has stripped himianity, was 
not caused by the radical forces once so 
dreaded, but, one is almost tempted to say, 
by the Devil himself, masquerading as gentle- 
man, patriot, and diplomatist. In the hideous 
glare of the firing, it is possible to see Mars 
and Mammon, twin supporters of the old 
Capitalistic order, rushing on their own 

This is the hour of opportimity; this is the 
hour of the Church. In the last fifty years 
she has accomplished a great preparation, by 
her rediscovery of the purpose of Jesus. Few 
and hesitant, however, have been her attempts 
to realize that purpose, to strive boldly, 
through profound labors of readjustment and 
reconstruction, to establish the Kingdom of 
God, the kingdom of love, on earth. Perhaps 

The Church and the Hour 63 

one cause of her semi-paralysis has been her 
failure to recognize that the central incident 
in the process of estabHshing the kingdom 
must always be a Cross. 

If civiUzation, with its science, its culture, 
its thousand graces of heart and mind, is not 
to be abandoned to the powers of evil, the 
revolutionary principle of love must be ac- 
cepted as the practical basis for all human 
relations, industrial and national. ^ 

But, for the Christian, what a tremendous 


The central question will not down: Has 
religion anything to do with civihzation? 
Perhaps the age is sweeping to catastrophic 
end,— and in that case the true aim of the 
Christian is not to transform the social order, 
but to transcend it. So thought the Early 
Church: her Christianity was largely^ un- 
interested in secular affairs, and her disciples, 
adopting an ad interim policy toward the 
evil world from which they had been saved, 
awaited, patient, humble, the coming of the 

64 The Church and the Hour 

Son of Man. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" 
That last prayer of the Scripture canon is 
still the final prayer on Christian lips; and 
still the echo of the Lord's own question stings 
the heart: When the Son of ]\Ian cometh, 
shall He find faith on the earth? 

Trust in progress has received a shock of 
late. But even before the war, a strong cur- 
rent in the religious world was considering it 
an illusion, and setting toward those Apoca- 
lyptic hopes always accompanied with other- 
worldly fatalism. Books like Hugh Benson's 
Lord of the World, and the Russian Solovyof 's 
brilliant War Progress and the End of History y 
expressed the curious idea that the modern 
humanitarian movement, if it were not Anti- 
Christ himself, was at least a preparation 
for Anti-Christ; talk concerning the Second 
Advent was revived in unexpected quarters, 
and naysticism, with its stress on the interior 
life as the only matter of importance, entered 
its ancient claim in new and lovely forms. 

Perhaps few people hold explicitly the be- 
lief in an apocalyptic as opposed to a social 
type of Christianity. But this is the extreme 
of an instinctive reaction. While social Chris- 

The Church and the Hour 65 

tianity, weak and young, reaches out pleading 
arms for help, suspicion of it has set in. Grow- 
ing opposition threatens between two Christian 
schools, one humanitarian, philanthropic, even 
socialistic, stressing the establishment of the 
Kingdom of God on earth; the other mystic, 
individualistic, intent exclusively on the devel- 
opment of spiritual faculty, on the release of 
eternity in Time. This last school, I suppose, 
would not oppose temporal works of mercy 
when they clamored to be done; but it would 
take slight interest in attacking those hidden 
wrongs basic to the present social order. 
No white list of investments needed for its 
followers ! 

Something in most of us shares the distaste 
for social Christianity. And no wonder. 
Cant about social service fills the air. The 
complacent yoimg make it an excuse for the 
neglect of penitence and devotion. The hun- 
gry sheep leave Church, swollen less often 
with theological wind than in Milton's day, 
but with sociological chaff, which is no more 
nourishing. Earnest people go to Church 
very wistful, and what they crave from 
Christian preaching is not instruction about 

66 The Church and the Hour 

reforms. They want release for the frozen 
springs of will and feeling, power imparted to 
open the soul to the inflowing Grace of God. 
Too often, the modem pulpit evades their 
need. Too often, the modem Church seems 
like a great machine for the cheery promotion 
of social welfare, and it is natural enough if 
the charge is made that social service, and 
care for social justice, is simply that clever 
old enemy materialism, invading the sanctities 
in new disguise. 

Personally, I believe that there is one way 
only of avoiding the menacing division be- 
tween spiritual and social Christianity. I 
believe that the reproach of unspirituality, 
so often and so justly cast on social religion, 
is mainly due to the frequent divorce between 
social enthusiasm and Christian dogma; and 
that the special power of the Church to meet 
the social emergency depends on the presence 
within her of a large group to whom the two 
aspects of her heritage are alike precious and 
essential, and who draw their social radicalism 
from the Catholic faith in its wholeness. 

The great movement of social reform and 
revolution will go on, as it began, quite in- 

The Church and the Hour 67 

dependently of Christian people. But if the 
Christian will has a distinctive contribution 
to make, such a contribution must spring 
from the distinctive Christian convictions. 
Reform, revolution, have for the Christian 
one supreme aim, — the general release of 
human power, so that men may more truly 
know God and enjoy Him torever. This is 
the end of all our ** preliminaries to sanctifica- 
tion. " Unless a man know within himself 
this supreme aim, how can he rightly further 
it for others? And what is the Catholic 
faith, except the ultimate means for attaining 
the knowledge of God verified by the Christian 
experience of the ages? 

This attitude is unpopular, and it is cur- 
rently assimied that revolt from dogma and zeal 
for social reform are mysteriously connected. 
Significant books illustrate this thesis ; brilliant 
men defend it. It is a plausible thesis, for the 
alHance is natural and common. All instincts 
of revolt sympathize while they are immature, 
and reaction against the accredited in religion 
and in society is likely to make a simultaneous 
appeal to the mind. Yet treacherous acci- 
dents of time or origin can bring into temporary 

68 The Church and the Hour 

alliance movements either unrelated or op- 
posed. Commimism, for instance, to many 
among its disciples and its critics alike, implies 
hostility to marriage. But the basis of sex 
relations and property relations is quite di- 
verse, and there is no earthly reason why 
commtmity in goods should imply community 
in wives. Nor is there any reason either 
earthly or heavenly, why disbelief in the 
Virgin-Birth or the Trinity should predispose 
a man to oppose vested interests or sweat- 

The modem churches are full of people 
who find dogma a clog to the free spirit, 
and who concern themselves with it as little 
as may be. Let them stay, and work for 
righteousness. But let them recognize the 
value of the other school, who apprehend 
Christianity less as ethical program than as 
spiritual power, and whose firm faith in 
Catholic doctrine is the well-spring of revo- 
lutionary conviction. There is intimate 
imion, known to many who shrink from 
speaking of these arcana, between the Catholic 
faith at its fullest and social radicalism at its 
boldest. Strength comes to these, not from 

The Church and the Hour 69 

such generalized religious ideals as can be 
shared by Buddhist or Jew, but from the 
definite Gospel as interpreted by the historic 
Church. They leave the religion of Humanity 
to those without the churches, for they know 
a better thing, — the religion of Christ. 

Religious fervor, as the past proves, is 
attended by a vicious danger of spiritual 
egotism, unless it lead to social action. But 
plain Christians generally know to-day, as 
they have always known, that for them social 
action is in the long run unmotived and 
perilous unless it draw from deep wells of 
religious faith. 


And if any say, as they will, that dogma 
is a dead thing, irrelevant to these reflections 
and to the love of God, let them remember 
that most Christian doctrines are simply 
experience taken at white heat and crystal- 
lized. Because experience is concerned with 
relationships, the richest social implications 
may be drawn from all the great theological 
concepts of the Church. For instance: to 

70 The Church and the Hour 

casual surface thinking, nothing seems more 
remote from daily life or more repellent 
than the more recondite phases of the doctrine 
of the Atonement. Yet nowhere can heroism 
be more truly quickened, nowhere can modem 
ethic be more severely rebuked, than in 
contemplating the amazing depths of love 
which the Church sttmiblingly tries to describe 
in that doctrine. Jealousy for the welfare 
of one's children is a central point in this 
ethic of ours: to protect them is a cardinal 
duty, and a far stronger deterrent from 
radical change than personal ambition or 
fear; many and many a man would risk all 
for himself who will risk nothing for his child. 
Yet the Beloved Son, begotten before all 
worlds, is sent forth by the Father to suffer 
even unto death for the world's salvation; 
thus are our timidities put to shame; and 
the worshiper, contemplating the Atonement 
from the point of view not of man but of the 
Fount of Godhead, learns readiness to sacrifice 
not only himself, which is easy, but his children, 
which is hard. 

Only by cherishing the tremendous impetus 
to bold social action to be found in the 

The Church and the Hour 71 

mystical depths of dogma can the modem 
social movement be rescued from the half- 
deserved reproach of putting the body above 
the soul, and losing sight of the eternal in 
the things of time. And many believe that 
only by drawing from this source can the 
movement gain permanent force to withstand 
the fierce passions of the lower nature, and to 
create the new era in which the impossible 
paradox shall be realized, righteousness and 
peace kissing each other, and mercy and truth 
meeting as lovers at last. 

And in proportion as we draw from such 
source of strength, perhaps the question 
concerning the reality of himian progress will 
cease so actively to distress us, — though we 
may be no more able to give a categorical 
answer to it than our Master was. It is 
clear that in the mind of Jesus, as in history, 
two principles were recognized about the 
Coming of the Kingdom: growth and catas- 
trophe. When His Church loses thought of 
catastrophe, and devotes herself comfortably 
— and half-heartedly — to furthering growth, 
omens of future judgment are likely to gather, 
as they are gathering now. We shall do well 

72 The Church and the Hour 

if, obeying Christ's indubitable teachings, we 
join to our steadfast efforts to promote the 
cause of the Kingdom on earth, the awestruck 
readiness for sudden judgment. Of that day 
and that hour knoweth no man, and the 
kingdom cometh not with observation; but 
it is sure to come. And we are to remember 
that in the New Testament judgment is the 
goal of hope, the beginning and not the end; 
since it ushers in that millennium which is no 
heavenly mirage, but the Christian Utopia, 
the destined heritage of fleshly men. 

Meantime let us not soothe our slothful 
wills because Our Lord delayeth His Coming. 
Nothing is clearer than that Christ condemns 
inactivity. We must increase our talents, 
we must tend our lamps, we must work in the 
vineyard as if the harvest time were sure. 
To the prayer. Thy Kingdom come on earth, 
which carries with it so certain a promise 
of fulfilment, must be joined that other last 
prayer Vv^ithout which the heart would fail 
indeed: Eve7i so come, Lord Jesus, It is the 
supreme test of faith to live in uncertainty, 
and to that test our age is called. This means 
that in a peculiar sense, inward and mystic 

The Church and the Hour 73 

as well as practical, it must embrace the 
heroic aspects of the Cross. 

The world has never been so conscious of 
Christ as in these days of horror. Cartoons 
show Him everywhere. The hand of the dead 
soldier rests on His wounded Feet ; the sorrow- 
ing wife feels His consoling Presence. Kaiser 
and King turn their backs on Him or pierce 
Him with the bayonet. To His gray figure 
on the Cross, touched with dawn in the 
mists that rise from the profounds of mountain 
chasms, climb bowed processions of phantom 
mourners, chanting in all the tongues of the 
warring nations to Him Who is their Peace. 
Meantime, those actual Calvaries that stand 
so grave and still, watching the battle-fields, 
bring a message of hope rather than despair. 
Though the walls of the Church seem shattered, 
and though no rest be found for the seeking 
soul in its ruins, it cannot perish so long as 
Christ abides. For His presence creates it, 
and that presence, manifest on its Altars, 
shall never leave the world He died to save. 


The Christian Church, especially in Anglo- 
Saxon countries, is awakening to an extra- 
ordinary paradox in its position. This is 
not a new paradox ; but never before was it so 
marked as in our day. It relates to the social 
quality of Church membership. The dis- 
inherited and the humble were the first to 
profess the faith, and the formula of that 
faith are theirs. The prosperous are those 
who now profess it, and the formulae are 
strange upon their lips. 

At the time of the first Christmas, the poor, 
the slaves, the oppressed, were craving a 
Deliverer, throughout that Roman Empire on 
whose upper circles ''disgust and secret long- 
ing" had fallen. The sense of sin, growing 
curiously deep just then, blended with a 
confused resentment against injustice at the 
roots of things; the quickened personal life 
shared by the proletariat with the rest of the 


The Church and the Hour 75 

world, htingered for some aid to self-respect. 
How fully Christianity met these needs — 
Christianity, with its story of a Carpenter, 
despised and rejected, executed as an agita- 
tor, victor over death. Saviour from sins, who 
washed men in His blood and made them 
kings and priests before God! The new 
hope was bom among workingmen. Secretly, 
swiftly, it spread through the Roman under- 
world, though an occasional ''intellectual" as 
we might now say, rose to leadership in the 
movement. It swept through Asia Minor 
westward to the center of empire, thence out 
to farthest barbarian bounds. Many edu- 
cated and prosperous people were before long 
touched by the rapture which so strangely 
blotted out worldly distinctions; yet in the 
main the faith percolated up from below, 
bearing the clear stamp of a proletarian 
religion. God had put down the mighty 
and exalted the humble. He had filled the 
hungry, while the rich were sent empty away. 
What though these marvels were achieved on 
the spiritual rather than the natural plane? 
All the more satisfying, all the more perma- 
nent. Blessed were the poor, the meek, 

76 The Church and the Hour 

the hungry for justice; the dispossessed and 
defeated Hfted their brows to heaven to catch 
the Hght of a new morning, in which mihtary 
valor, administrative power, intellectual acu- 
men, slipped into shadow, and the radiance 
fell on the servile virtues which Paganism 
had scorned. 

Of course the situation did not last long. 
Christianity was too rare a discovery to be 
left in the hearts of slaves. At first more 
or less a class-conscious movement, it was 
saved from being revolutionary also only 
by its apocalyptic hope, and by the instinct 
for non-resistance and obedience native to the 
classes through which it spread. But from 
the first it held the germs of a universal faith, 
and it slipped from the control of the prole- 
tariat as it had slipped from the control of the 
Jews. Before long, we find it approved by 
the authorities; and the Gift of Constantine, 
("Ahi Costantin, di quant o mal fu matre!") 
united an institutional Catholicism firmly 
with the existing order. Fervent Christian 
missionaries now aimed at the conversion 
of princes, who, when converted, imposed 
the new religion wholesale on their realms, 

The Church and the Hour 77 

and brought the armies of their adversaries 
to baptism at the point of the sword. 

These subject populations seem to have 
been genuinely Christianized after a fashion. 
We confront a mediaeval Europe which in a 
sense deserves the name of Christendom ; how- 
ever childishly the religion be conceived, it is at 
least the common heritage. The feudal baron 
and his least of villeins are fed from the same 
altar and die with the same invocations on 
their lips. The faith, Catholic in more than 
name, encourages a spiritual democracy that 
goes far to mitigate the harshness of class- 
barriers, and to plant in race-consciousness, 
however obscurely, the seed of brotherhood. 
Through the middle ages, our paradox, how- 
ever humorous, is innocent and imconscious. 
Cheerily the followers of the Prince of Peace 
go forth to war and live by the rule of might. 
Archbishop Turpin gives his Franks for pen- 
ance an order to ''fight their best"; Roland 
in one breath invokes St. Michael, and bids 
farewell to his sword, ''the fair and holy," — 
prototypes these of endless warrior prelates 
and most Christian, Catholic, and predatory 
nobles, on whose lips the Gospel maxims 

78 The Church and the Hour 

soiind strange indeed. But men were simple 
then. The fighting had to be done, the 
authority to be maintained, and sunset years 
in a monastery might always atone for a 
vehement noon. Meanwhile, there were al- 
ways the voiceless throngs of faithful, wistful 
people — villeins, vagrants, poor folk of the 
towns — to whom the vision of the city of 
peace, where the humble should reign, brought 
help and healing; men who cherished with 
passionate devotion their glorious secret: 
belief in the workman who had been cradled 
in a bam, had lived a houseless man, and who 
should be Judge and Overlord of all the great 
of the earth. ''Our Prince Jesus poverty 
chose, and His apostles twelve; and aye the 
langer they lived the less goods they had." 
Honor poor men, ''for in their likeness oft our 
Lord hath been known. ' ' So said old Langland 

Do poor folk take like comfort to-day? 
One doubts it; for Christianity to all appear- 
ance, at least in Protestant countries, is 
certainly no longer in any general sense a 
proletarian religion. As we said at the out- 
set it has largely passed into the hands of the 

The Church and the Hour 79 

This is not to say in any sweeping absolute 
fashion that the Christian reHgion is obhter- 
ated among the lower classes. There is the 
Salvation Army, there are slum churches 
thronged at mass, there are many other honor- 
able exceptions. Yet in the main it is difficult 
to deny that those who support and value the 
churches to-day are the comfortable middle 
classes, while those who first received the good 
tidings and spread it over the civilized world 
would surprise us very much if they appeared 
in the sanctuary. Fifty years and more ago, 
Matthew Arnold pointed out the divorce of 
the working people from religion as the most 
sinister sign of the times. He hoped to win 
them back by blotting out dogma in favor of 
ethics; but it is not the working class that has 
accepted his suave attenuations of the Gospel. 
To picture the congregation in a popular 
church, transformed into the sort of audience 
to be seen at a socialist rally or a strikers' 
meeting, is a startling flight of fancy. The 
hungry and the meek no longer sing the 
Magnificat. Respectable and relatively pros- 
perous people fill the churches so far as they 
are filled ; establish missions, guilds, and insti- 

8o The Church and the Hour 

tutional centers for the class to which they 
owed their faith in the beginning; and worry 
seriously over the ''lapsed masses." 

Nor does one see any immediate prospect 
of change in the curious situation. The 
classes at the base of things suffer to-day 
under sorrowful pressure of industrial anxiety. 
Their members when gentle, have often too 
little vitality for church-going, and when 
spirited experience too sharp indignation at 
the heart-root to enjoy peaceful religious 
hope. General interest, among them, is largely 
transferred from another world to this one; 
a new religion, the dangerous rehgion of revolt, 
spreads like silent flame among the working 
classes. Eager in propaganda as the religion 
of Paul was once, it lures, it quickens, it wakes 
in dull eyes the light that Christianity no 
longer kindles. We may mourn as we will. 
We may analyze causes forever in the maga- 
zines. In sincere distress over souls that 
perish, we may multiply our missions; the 
situation will persist. The people who most 
loudly glorify submission and renunciation 
belong to the class least called on to practice 
these virtues; those who extol a homeless 

The Church and the Hour 8r 

Lord command fair homes where their children 
gather in peace around them, while the land- 
less and homeless have wandered far from Him, 
and are seeking strange new guides. 

What are we to learn from this situation? 

No more extraordinary reversal was ever 
seen than the change, socially speaking, of 
the personnel of the Christian Church. There 
is little use in fighting the situation directly. 
There is less use in grieving over it. We shall 
do better to consider its good points, for it 
has them. 

We may notice, for instance, that the 
well-to-do and respectable need religion quite 
as much as the proletariat — more, if we are to 
trust Jesus when He says that they are in 
peculiar spiritual peril. From this point of 
view, it is a cheering fact that to thousands 
of people in the prosperous classes religion is 
perfectly genuine. Loyalty to the Churches, 
does really foster in them the life of the soul, 
however hard working-class agitators find it to 
believe this. They break through into that 
''world subsisting within itself," which, as 
Eucken says, religion creates, and consciously 


82 The Church and the Hour 

submit their being to iits transforming and 
saving power. 

For over a century critics have been an- 
nouncing that Christianity was at the point 
of death; but never was it more aHve. We 
hardly need such proofs as a Men and ReHgion 
Forward Movement, a World's Student Chris- 
tian Federation, a Conference on Faith and 
Order. Countless confraternities and guilds, 
Anglican orders revived, Roman orders 
dispersed on the Continent only to plant 
centers of influence in free Anglo-Saxondom, 
show the vitality inherent in the more rigid 
forms of faith; while a public that eagerly 
absorbs Eucken and draws enormous ntimbers 
of religious books from libraries, is surely 
awake to spiritual things. Emphases have 
changed. Ethics and sentiment interest more 
than dogma. That benevolence of which 
Christ said so little has become our central 
social virtue, replacing that joy in poverty 
and that spirit of renunciation for which He 
pleaded. None the less the cry arises, "Thou 
hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and restless 
are our hearts until they rest in Thee.*' 

So far so good; yet we all want to probe 

The Church and the Hour 83 

further. Our paradox must hold a summons. 
For, to speak frank Christian language, if 
God has thus shaped Christian history, it is 
because He has thought it well so to do. The 
situation at any point of time — to believe 
this is the superb adventure of Christian faith 
— is that precise situation from which everyone 
involved may profit the most : it is that through 
which the Kingdom of God may advance more 
swiftly. The glory of every temptation, 
every difficulty, is the opportimity it presents. 

What is the opportunity, what the summons, 
afforded in the dramatic transformation of 
Christianixy from a religion of slaves to a reli- 
gion of masters? The greatest we could ask. It 
is the chance to demonstrate, with a imique 
cogency, that Christianity is no mere natural 
product, but a supernatural power. We can 
rout for all time the economic determinist. 
We can prove, as Eucken says once more, that 
''reality has a depth beyond the natural man.'* 

Early Christian history holds no such 
demonstration for the modem caviller. He 
points out that the new religion, with its 
emphasis on servile virtues, took facile root 
among a servile population. In the under- 

84 The Church and the Hour 

world of society a religion was bound to 
flourish which lent the grace of dignity and 
the light of spiritual romance to the qualities 
of non-resistance, unworldliness, and meekness, 
which the poor were in any case forced to 
practice, and exalted into honor the ancient 
badges of their shame. The early Christians 
sacrificed little: their religion was a natural 
product of their economic environment, as it 
remains to this day a natural consolation 
for the weak. Would you persuade us to 
see in it an influx of grace from Above, show 
it practiced by the strong ! 

Where do we so find it? W^here perceive 
clear proof of the Christian ideal running 
counter to the psychology engendered by 
circumstance? One remembers interesting 
individuals, down the centuries: a Francis 
Bemardone, a Gordon, a Shaftesbury. They 
arrest thought, one admits. But look at life 
in the large! Christianity has been really 
operative only with those groups or classes to 
whom submission, obedience, are matters of 
necessity: Russian peasants, if you will, or 
Langland's poor folk, or women, before the 
days of the suffragettes. It has been easy 

The Church and the Hour 83 

enough for the crushed to honor meekness, for 
the suffering to console themselves by the 
secret faith that pain redeems the world, for 
people ''terrified by fears, cast down by 
poverty" to praise poverty of spirit, and look 
forward to a Vision of Peace beyond the 

But let us see the powerful, for a change, 
abjuring their power; the rich, giving poverty 
more than lip-homage and patronage; the 
happy, deliberately choosing to suffer with the 
age-long hunger of the dispossessed, till they 
win the blessing of them that mourn. Show 
us a corporate Christianity which involves 
social sacrifice on a large scale. If you show 
that, you can bid us believe in anything, even 
in baptismal regeneration. 

What is this? You point to the hold 
Christianity has on the prosperous classes? 
To our large congregations, our great contribu- 
tions to missions and philanthropy, our solemn 
stress on ''social service," our magnates of 
finance passing the contribution plate? — 
And here it is to be feared that the caviller 
pauses and shrugs. Amuse yourselves as you 
like, he says. Try as you will to add to the 

86 The Church and the Hour 

assets of one order of things, the earthly, 
the perquisites of another order, the heavenly; 
reserve your Christian principles for private 
consumption in the family circle, or treat 
them as an affair of the heart, sentimentally 
spiritual, unrelated to the way in which 
you make or spend your income. Evade as 
you choose the plain purport of your Master's 
teaching of brotherhood. The religion you 
profess may last your time, but it is as surely 
dying out as the plants in His old story 
withered from lack of soil. What we out- 
siders need in order to convince us that you 
Christians have indeed ''broken through into 
reality'' is to see those who can command 
luxury, choosing poverty so long as their 
brothers want; those who might rule men, 
industrially or politically, becoming true ser- 
vants of the democracy. It is to find Chris- 
tians voting in public matters steadily against 
their own class-interests, and in private life 
literally caring more to share than to own. 
This spectacle, we grant, would be an effective 
proof of a divine religion. But men are not 
likely to see it. 

No? But what if they did? 

The Church and the Hour 87 

Since the days of the martyrs, Christians 
have had no chance to bear witness so saHent, 
so inviting, to the reaHty of their faith. The 
martyr is only the witness, though the con- 
notations of pain that the word carries imply 
that honest witness-bearing has always in- 
volved cost. The test must be real. It was 
real in the Early Church, and people met it: 
nobles, of whom there was ever a fair sprinkling 
among believers, as well as slaves, to whom 
after all life was sweet. We may not have 
the martyr-stuff in us to-day. The very 
word has degenerated, till we speak. Heaven 
forgive us, of a martyr to rheumatism or to 
relatives! A martyr to us means a victim. 
Now comes the chance to redeem the word, 
to show that he is a hero. Reality endures. 
The nature of the witness it requires varies 
from age to age. These being the industrial 
ages, witness to truth will naturally be related 
to the industrial life; and it has strangely 
and quietly come to pass that Christian people 
are now chiefly drawn from the class which has 
industrial sacrifice within its power to make. 

Obvious economic sacrifice on the part of 
Christians at large is the only soimd means 

88 The Church and the Hour 

to silence the reiterated sneer of the material- 
istic radical who threatens our civilization. He 
is honestly convinced that no solid gain in 
justice or freedom has ever been carried through 
with the support of those who had anything to 
lose by it. Here is the slogan of the revolu- 
tionary syndicalist, here the insidious assur- 
ance through which he attracts the working 
people by thousands to his religion of revolt. 
He insists ad nauseam that every advance 
in popular freedom has been wrested with 
difficulty and violence by the oppressed from 
the oppressors. If you say that it is better 
to endure injustice than to seek justice by 
violence, he asks if you regret Runnymede 
and the Boston tea-party. If you remark 
sententiously that ''nothing is ever achieved 
by violence," he retorts with some show of 
reason that little has ever been achieved 
otherwise. Plead with him to wait patiently 
till brotherly love shall accomplish its work, 
unaided by coarser powers, he will point 
a sinister finger at the workers, for instance, 
in the textile industries, remark that he is in a 
hurry, and challenge you to adduce specific 
instances on your side. 

The Church and the Hour 89 

And it must be confessed that he has you 
in a comer. You search history too often 
in vain to refute him. Instances of individual 
self-sacrifice are gloriously common: instances 
of corporate self-sacrifice are conspicuous by 
their absence. The most picturesque instance 
does not come from Christendom at all; it is 
the abnegation of the Japanese Samurai. 

But that such instances have been rare 
in the past does not prove that they cannot 
occur in the future. Possibilities change. 
Democracy sinks in. It is bringing about a 
state in which the highest private ethics are 
impelled as never before to reproduce them- 
selves in the collective ethics of the group. 
If its intuitions are genuine, they must en- 
gender, not merely neutrality but disinterested 
action. It must be proved, not by words 
but by deeds, that large masses of people are 
more affected by desire for the common good 
than by desire to protect their own interests. 

Democracy of this type needs a spiritual 
instrument. Where can we look for such an 
instrument so naturally as to the Christian 

The Church can, to be sure, do little in her 

90 The Church and the Hour 

corporate capacity. She is a spiritual, not an 
economic organism, and as such she can serve 
spiritual functions only. But the inspiration 
she supplies should guide her children in every 
province, and should to-day, above all, direct 
them toward social sacrifice. The chief hope 
of idealism in the present crisis is in the atti- 
tude and action of Christians from the pros- 
perous classes. Will they hold to the solid, 
imperturbable tenets of their class, stub- 
bornly defending a system alien to the spirit 
of their Master, even while professing in 
jejune generalizations to believe in His ideals? 
Or will they afford the most striking instance 
in history of a group-consciousness transcend- 
ing lower forces, and acting directly from 
Above, counter to its own material advantage? 

Should they so act, they would furnish 
an amazing spectacle indeed: a miracle, if 
you will. For class interest is a force so 
subtle, imiversal, irresistible, that to bid men 
defy it is like bidding the body defy gravita- 
tion, the lungs refuse to breathe. 

Is it not thinkable that to the end of just 
this miracle, the strildng transference of 
Christianity from the underworld to the 

The Church and the Hour 91 

world of comfort and prosperity, was deter- 
mined in heavenly councils and brought about 
through slow historic process? Future Church 
historians may show with dramatic power 
how Christianity, at the crisis of its fate, had 
insensibly changed from the refuge of the 
proletariat to the home of the privileged in 
order that a triumphant demonstration of 
its divine nature might be afforded by the 
action of its followers, who in time of social 
revolution were chief agents in destroying 
all undue privilege by which they and their 
class could profit. 

The virtues called for by Christianity are 
distinctly supernatural. They run athwart 
every instinct of unregenerate man; and 
to root them in the himian soil, every advan- 
tage had to be taken. Even before the 
Christian era much had been done. To give 
the human animal the freedom of a higher 
than animal life, is a tremendous feat. At 
first the process was evident only at rare 
points and moments, as in maternal devotion, 
where the ego is promoted a little, only a very 
little way, out of its own self. When that 
potent help to the achievement of the high 

92 The Church and the Hour 

task, the Christian ideal, entered the world, 
it had first to sow its seed among the lower 
classes, because those classes could foster 
that seed best. Such conditions as Christianity 
found for its inception in Judaea, and en- 
countered during its early progress in the 
Roman Empire, were a necessity for its 
survival. Renunciation, pity, meekness, had 
to commend themselves first to those who 
knew how to pity because they had suffered, 
to renounce because they had never possessed, 
who by force of their outward situation were 
prepared to find joy in persecution, peace in 
subjection, immortal hope in their lack of 
earthly good. 

To their amazement they did find these 
things and found them precious. In the 
midst of their chains they became free, not 
by shaking off the chains, but by learning 
that in bondage is truest freedom. Disci- 
plined through the ages in the mystic Christian 
joy, that joy became to them so intensely 
real that the wistful world of wealth and suc- 
cess, looking in their faces, reluctantly acknowl- 
edged a sweetness beyond all it had to give, 
and discovered itself an-hungered for the 

The Church and the Hour 93 

secret blessings of those beneath its feet. 
So even the prosperous and the happy learned 
to set their affections on things Above. 

But the story could not end there. The 
Christian virtues may take long centuries 
to strike deep roots in lives not forced to them 
by circumstance; but the time comes when, 
if they are so rooted, they must blossom in 
triimiphant and supernatural beauty. Other- 
wise our planet is a moral tragedy among the 

To-day, after nineteen hundred years, we 
hope for a season of blossom. Because the 
majority of Christian folk are now born not 
to want but to reasonable comfort, they can, 
if they will, demonstrate practically that 
comfort is matter of indifference to them 
compared with love. In no fantastic asceti- 
cism but in sober modern fashion, let them 
renounce luxury in consumption, greed in 
acquisition, permitting their light to shine by 
allowing their motives to be known. Let 
them remember that there is that scattereth 
and yet increaseth. Above all, let them as 
members of the body politic and industrial 
quietly throw their adherence on the side of 

94 The Church and the Hour 

justice to the dispossessed, or, if this phrase 
does not appeal to them, of generosity to the 

Never have Christian people had a more 
dramatic opportunity. Will they embrace it? 
When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find 
faith on the earth? 


The Alasses is a radical weekly published 
in New York. It is clever, searching, clear- 
purposed, and bitterly anti-ecclesiastical. Its 
scathing cartoons well deserve attention from 
church-loving persons ; as in the case of a draw- 
ing of prosperous clergy feasting at a table over 
which hangs a crucifix; below, a citation from 
the Times stating the cost of a clerical dinner 
to have been $5.00 — or was it $10.00? — 
a plate; above, the caption. Their Last 

But while the satire stings, some of it is 
grossly unfair, notably the contemptuous and 
ignorant attitude toward Christian dogma. 
Certain skits, imitating from afar the light 
irony of Anatole France, but unrelieved, to 
some minds at least, by Gallic delicacy or 
point, excited much criticism a year or two 
ago. These skits called forth a number of 

' Reprinted from The Masses, Dec., 1915, and Feb., 1916. 

96 The Church and the Hour 

letters, some protesting, some applauding, 
which the editors published in amusing juxta- 
position. The quotations from the corre- 
spondence which follow are reprinted with the 
thought that they may indicate conditions in 
sincere radical minds which the Christian 
apologist must meet: 

"Editors of The Masses, 

''Gentlemen: You sent me an appeal for 
subscribers. Slowly and lazily I had just 
reached the point of getting you one when I 
received the ' Heavenly Dialogue * in your last 
month's issue. You will get no subscribers 
through me. I am not afraid of blasphemy, 
as I do not think the eternal verities are ever 
injured by it, and I like and approve sharp, 
clever attacks on all that is false and conven- 
tional in religion. But the smart and cheap 
vulgarity of that thing was too much for me. 
It is a pity. 

*'I have read few remarks about the war that 
struck home to me as did those by Max East- 
man in the same number. . . . 

**I wish The Masses could manage to avoid 
offensiveness with no sacrifice of its trenchant 

The Church and the Hour 97 

quality, and I think it could, perfectly well, if 
the editors chose to do so. . . . 

'* Fraternally and cordially, 


A Western correspondent wrote: 

''Keep hammering away at the failure of us 
who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ — 
we need it: we must never think we are 
following his ideals as closely as smug com- 
placency suggests. But please do not serve up 
in your columns more of such articles as that 
to which I have referred, which alienate 
without benefiting — and which are in bad 
taste, I firmly believe.'* 

The Masses retorted: 

''Such a letter one can hardly answer at 
all, so remote is its viewpoint, and yet so 
warm its good-will. It is as if a being from 
some other planetary system should write in, 
asking why we asstmie that every heavy thing 
drops to the earth. We wonder how this 
being who lives under the Lord Jesus as an 
anthropomorphic God, ever wandered into the 
orbit of The Masses — and yet, now that he is 
there, we would like to hold his interest and 

98 The Church and the Hour 

faith, for he evidently has a little faith in 

"And perhaps there is some ground for it. 
We believe in Jesus. We believe that he lived 
and died laboring and fighting, in a noble 
atmosphere of disreputability, for the welfare 
and liberty of man. To us his memory is the 
memory of a hero, and perhaps a good deal of 
our indignation against the Church rises from 
that. We are indignant, not only because the 
Church is reactionary, but because the Church 
betrayed Jesus. The Church took Christ^s 
name and then sold out to the ruling classes. 
The Church is Judas. And to us that little 
immaculate ikon that sits at the right hand of 
the image of God in Heaven is a part of the 
whole traitorous procedure. Whoever puts 
Jesus up there dodges Him down here — that 
has been our experience. Look into your 
mind and find out whether it is Jesus of 
Nazareth that you want to defend against 
satire, or a certain paste-and-water conception 
of Him which assuredly needs your defense." 

It seemed worth while to comment a little 
further on this correspondence, so the follow- 
ing letter was written: 

The Church and the Hour 99 

*'To the Editor: 

''With 'inward glee' if not with 'serious 
faith/ I read your Talk on Editorial Pohcy, 
wherein you print letters from candid friends, 
including myself, neutralizing each other. 
They are good fim. 

"But I am moved to tell you something. 
It is apropos of the letter from California and 
your comment on it. 

"What I want to tell you is that you have 
no cause for surprise at the sympathy of ' this 
being* for The Masses. He does not stand 
alone. It is high time for you to recognize that 
anti-Church radicals do not absorb radicalism 
any more than Church-members absorb Chris- 
tianity. The old creeds are not dead, though 
impassioned believers in them are not often 
met, according to my experience, in 'cultured 
Boston' or its suburbs — or anywhere else. 
They exist, however, these believers — men 
and women who consider themselves, not 
merely with you, admirers of a dead martyr- 
hero, but disciples of a Living Lord. Among 
these disciples a considerable number find the 
pungent and penetrating treatment of Churchi- 
anity and civilization in The Masses as wel- 

100 The Church and the Hour 

come as flowers in May. They agree with you 
not all the time, but much of the time, and 
they give thanks for you and wish they were 
clever enough to do so too. 

''For among those who know an interior 
union with the Living Christ (pardon the 
strange language) He is manifest more and 
more as the Christ of the Revolution. 

''Of course, this vision of Him was long 
obscured. But it has never been lost. In 
the unpromising eighteenth century, William 
Blake defiantly proclaimed it : 

' The vision of Christ which thou dost see 
Is my vision*s greatest enemy. 
Both read the Bible day and night, 
But thou readest black where I read white. 

Where'er His chariot took its way. 
The gates of death let in the day* — 

"So long as the Gospels are read aloud 
Sunday after Sunday in church, the vision 
can't be lost. It bides its time, it finds its 
own. It is most compelling to-day among 

The Church and the Hour loi 

those who believe, — they really do, I assure 
you, — that He who was executed by the 
combined forces of the religious, intellectual, 
and governing classes of His day, is to be the 
Judge of the human race. 

"In gently assuming that no intelligent 
person who enjoys The Masses holds this 
extraordinary hope, Mr. Editor, you are 
provincial. Please socialize your mind! 
Please open imagination to the fact of which 
I inform you, — that there are plenty of people 
ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with 
you in the fight for a clean, just, democratic 
civilization, who get authentic inspiration 
from sources closed to you. And don't sneer 
at their sanctities; it isn't worth while. The 
most seeming-obsolete formula is likely to 
have a sacred heart beating in it. It has 
meant, at all events, something profound in 
human experience. Were I in Buddha-land, 
I should never make fun of even the most 
crude and popular forms of Buddha-worship. 
Were I among the Turks, I should say my 
prayers in the Mosques — always supposing 
(I am hazy on this point) — that they would 
admit a lady. The Masses lives in a country 

102 The Church and the Hour 

where a great deal of real Christianity sur- 
vives — though I confess that appearances 
rather contradict the assertion. It wouldn't 
do you a bit of harm to show a little respect for 
it. For the amazing truth of the old Christian 
formulas is plain to the experience of thousands, 
and great tides of Christian mysticism are 
rising to refresh the arid souls of our generation. 
*'I hardly expect you to be interested in all 
this. And nobody is trying to convert you. 
You are doing a lot of good just where you are, 
and we all have eternity, and possibly many 
lives ahead even on earth, in which to learn 
things we don't know. But as we muddle 
along together, it should be possible to believe 
people who tell us that they see a light we 
don't, and to accept them courteously as 
fellow-pilgrims toward the City of Equity. 
*Tratemally yours, 



A PERTINENT question! For according to 
the Church's formulae one would have ex- 
pected it to turn SociaHst long ago. Wasn't 
it started Socialist? Did not its founder assert 
with vigor that an abundance of private 
possessions was bad and dangerous for a man? 
Did He not by deliberate choice announce 
His Good News to the poor, and establish prin- 
ciples that would make it impossible for any 
honest follower to fight for his own advantage, 
or to possess while other men lacked? Did 
He not go about proclaiming a revolutionary 
social order w^hich He called the Kingdom of 
Heaven, and does not clear thinking show that 
socialism is the only economic basis which 
would ever give this ideal of His a thorough and 
fair chance? Finally, because He would not 

I Reprinted from a Socialist publication, The Coming Nation, 
March, 19 13. 


104 The Church and the Hour 

give up his convictions or change His methods, 
did not the civil and reHgious authori- 
ties, with just instinct from their point of 
view, execute Him as a revolutionist and 

Well, then ! Why has his Church not turned 
out a revolutionary and Socialist body? 

Your glib answer is ready to the question. 

The Church is one thing, you say with a 
shrug: Jesus is quite another. 

The Church does not turn Socialist because 
it is false to its Master; because ever since the 
time of Constantine it has flouted His ideas, 
misused His name, and has in these latter days 
at least, whatever may have been true earlier, 
become a stronghold of enmity to the people, 
and to the cause for which He died. 

There is some force to this answer; but it is 
altogether too facile. Nothing in the world is 
so simple as all that. True, it does certainly 
look as if the Church might crucify Jesus all 
over again, did He appear among us. And we 
have to confess that it has crucified Him 
over and over, down the last two thousand 
years. Nevertheless, it still bears His name 
and includes many of His sincere followers. 

The Church and the Hour 105 

The situation demands that we probe 

And the moment we do so we see that there 
is no use in pummeHng the Church as if it 
were a person. Deahng the ecclesiastical 
world ''slaps and slams" in the elegant phrase 
of a socialist contemporary is an easy and 
stimulating exercise, but a silly one; for there 
is really nothing around to be hit. The Church 
is an extremely complex proposition. 

Seek for it with your sociological spy-glass, 
and it evades you. Which Church? Where? 
For the purposes of the present discussion, the 
Church cannot be considered as one corporate 
being endowed with independent life. Neither 
can it be identified with its leaders or official 
spokesmen, be they bishops or just plain 
ministers or even vestrymen and deacons. 
The Church is a vast association of baptized 
persons, presenting immense variety in outlook, 
attitude, and creed, held together by a force 
somewhat difficult to define. 

This association has been in existence a 
long while and has lived through many social 
orders. It gets its color from these orders but 
it has never been identical with any of them; 

io6 The Church and the Hour 

in one way it has nothing to do with politics 
or sociology. It cannot officially turn socialist 
as a corporate body, any more than it could 
turn imperialist under the Roman Empire, or 
feudal imder feudalism, or capitalistic imder 

Partisanship in politics or economics is as 
much out of its corporate province as partisan- 
ship on these lines would be to a botanical 
association or a football team. The only way 
in which this association can turn Socialist is 
for the majority of the individuals composing it 
to turn Socialist ; and this is what we really are 
watching for and are surprised not to see. 

Now, the force that unites these individuals 
in the vital Church, the working Church, is the 
belief that they have something precious to 
guard. Brotherhood? Yes; but something 
also deeper and more sacred than brotherhood. 

You may think that there is nothing deeper 
or more sacred. You may hold that brother- 
hood is the essence of religion, and all there is 
to it. You have a right to your opinion ; but 
that is where good Christians, not to speak of 
good Buddhists, and Jews, and Mohammedans 
and Bahaists, differ from you. 

The Church and the Hour 107 

This most precious thing which the Church 
exists to guard is the fellowship of finite and 
transitory man with Infinite and Uncreated 

Mystical delusion you say? Very well, 
though it seems somewhat unscientific to 
dismiss lightly with an impatient phrase an 
experience which has been from the dawn of 
time the central passion and the supreme 
desire, a sustaining power, a consolation, and 
a light, to unnumbered throngs of every con- 
tinent and every tongue. Pure religious as- 
piration is intangible, but it is mighty. From 
land to land, from age to age, it may change its 
formulas, but it never abandons its essence. 
And those who know can tell us that it never 
was more profoundly operative than to- 

However, we are expounding just now — not 
attacking, or defending. And we hasten to 
add, for the benefit of the practically disposed, 
that this insistent craving for fellowship with 
the imseen is not the only factor in the bond 
that unites Church and people. It carries 
with it of necessity a further emphasis. For 
in the Church it is held that such fellowship 

io8 The Church and the Hour 

can be attained only through growth in 

Now, holiness is only another word for 
character raised to its highest possibilities. 

It means in each individual a triumph of the 
higher nature over the lower, tritmiph won by 
fierce and endless moral struggle, of which the 
seat is the individual heart. The achievement 
of such triumph on the part of as many 
individuals as possible is the one matter of 
importance in the world. Hopelessly in- 
dividualistic, you perceive. Still, the race 
does happen to be made up of individuals. 

Even to appraise the value of an economic 
scheme, you have to get back to your in- 
dividual every time. At all events, character 
is the word of the Church — involving on the 
lower levels morality or faithfulness to the law 
of right; on the higher levels, holiness, or 
unity with the law of love ; and always imply- 
ing the possibility, clouded, dim, yet infinitely 
precious, of fellowship with what lies beyond 
the world of sense. 

The Church perceives or thinks she does 
that these things can be and are attained under 
all conceivable variety of economic circum- 

The Church and the Hour 109 

stance; and therefore she is inchned not to 
care a rap whether people are rich or poor and 
whether they Hve in comfort or discomfort. 

Even with the ethical stress, this whole 
scheme of things is foolishness to those 
modems, if such there be, who hold that good 
housing conditions and adequate reward for 
every man are the omega as well as the alpha 
of human needs ; also to those others, indubi- 
tably numerous, who are convinced that the 
study of natural law, with the pursuit of 
"arts yet unimagined yet to be" is going to 
satisfy the hunger for a vision of Truth beyond 
the edge of the world. 

But these modems must realize how 
ardently the people who fill the churches 
believe the other way. All church folk to 
whom religion is a reality speak a language of 
their own. They are sure that they, with any 
others who recognize the human need for that 
great fellowship with the Unseen God, alone 
"inhabit reality," to use James's admirable 
phrase. And the reason they do not turn 
socialist is their fear that socialism, especially 
as it is currently presented, threatens the 
power to achieve such fellowship. 

no The Church and the Hour 

They do not feel that people if released from 
economic bondage will be any more likely to 
become heirs to the old title, ''Friends of 
God/' They are full of terror lest a concen- 
tration of the public mind on the goods of the 
flesh should blind it to the goods of the Spirit; 
lest socialism should persuade men to a lazy 
idea that the race will be made good by rote 
when the socialist state arrives, and that 
meanwhile we fulfill our whole duty if we 
agitate for this state, relaxing all stress on the 
ancient tussle for individual self-restraint and 

The religious world, so far as it holds aloof 
from socialism, inclines to one of two attitudes. 
Either it thinks that socialism offers a low 
substitute for religion, mere wheat bread for 
the Bread of Life, in which case it regards 
socialism as an enemy; or else it thinks as we 
were saying that economic circumstance bears 
no relation to character, in which case it 
regards socialism as irrelevant. 

How full we are of answers — we Christians 
who happen to be socialists! The present 
writer has recently written a whole book to 
prove to her fellow-Christians how wrong 

The Church and the Hour iii 

they are. We are in a hurry to say that the 
Food of ImmortaHty can be sacramentally 
conveyed only through common bread and 
wine; that In the blessed oneness of being, 
soul helps flesh **no more than flesh helps 
soul, " so that our plain business is to make the 
flesh of all men healthful and wholesome; and 
we point with horror to the Satanic forces of 
Disease and Apathy brooding sinister over 
factory and slum. 

I am afraid that we socialist Christians en- 
joy hearing St. James say to the capitalists, 
especially those who fill the churches: Go to 
now, weep and howl ! Certainly we hold with 
John that if a man does not love his brother 
whom he has seen he is not likely to love God 
whom he has not seen ; and just as we perceive 
(what many good people curiously fail to) that 
the brotherhood of man implies Fatherhood — 
somewhere — so we see that a universal Father- 
hood implies a brotherhood not of our seeking 
but of divine ordaining. 

Probably a majority of people in the 
churches now get as far as this. There is a 
quite general loathing of self-centered spiri- 
tuaUty to-day and a strong reaction^ rom 

112 The Church and the Hour ^ 

nursing our own souls while babies are making 
artificial flowers. And a signifi.cant minority 
gets further. It sees that socialism is the only 
effective way at this stage of social evolution 
of practicing himian fellowship, and so reach- 
ing fellowship with God. 

This minority in the Church Is very firm in 
its conviction. It is quite sure that faith in 
Dante's ''Love that moves the sun and the 
other stars'' is in the long nm the only asset 
that separates man from brute; but it is also 
equally sure that socialism will prove favor- 
able to the full expansion of such faith and 
that the socialist reorganization of society is 
the only way to give the endless struggle for 
the perfecting of individual character, which 
is the condition of spiritual vision, any kind 
of a fair show. 

We try our best to show this to all our fellow- 
Christians. But still they hesitate. Still they 
tell us that there is danger lest the precious 
things attained by blood and tears and anguish 
be all thrown away, lest moral freedom be 
abolished by our system, and the race sink 
back into a dreary vulgarity, a kind of ethical 
Philistinism, with no romance of the spirit, no 

- The Church and the Hour 113 

fine heroisms, no more quest for the light that 
glimmers at the horizon's verge. 

Their fears sound ^plausible. We must do 
justice to their honesty: to that jealous, ser- 
ious passion for moral and spiritual values 
which is in great part the source of the diffi-^ 
culty felt by religious people in accepting 

We of the minority can hardly refrain from 
retorting, however, that if economic comfort 
be a dangerous condition, or an irrelevant one, 
it is strange that church members should for 
the most part cling to it so tenaeiously — and 
possess so very large a share of it, compared 
with the babies making artificial flowers. 

Honest church people have an interesting 
answer ready. They have to grant us some- 
thing, and they point to St. Francis, or to his 
theories, and tell us that we are right in a 
degree, but that the way out is not to press 
socialism but to persuade them and their like 
to a voluntary sacrifice of their possessions. 

Now there is a great deal to be said about 
this answer which cannot be said to-day. But 
it certainly does sound just a little academic 
and Utopian — and the babies continue to 

114 The Church and the Hour 

starve. Meantime it points us to other 
factors in the situation less noble than those 
we have been considering, yet important to 
keep in mind if we are looking for a straight 
answer to our question. 

The Church has that inward life on which 
we have been dwelling. But it has an outward 
life also. And this outward life is largely 
dependent on the offerings of the well-to-do 
classes. It is certainly a far cry from Fifth 
Avenue ecclesiastical architecture to the shores 
of the Lake of Galilee; yet by natural process 
of growth, Fifth Avenue Church edifices have 

The Church is an institution maintaining 
buildings and officials and an enormous 
quantity of charitable work, excellently well 
meant, however shortsighted. Now the in- 
ward life is by far the deeper and more 
important. It is what holds the whole thing 
together. Were it conceivable that the crav- 
ing for imion with God should cease in the 
hearts of men, the Church would vanish 
within a generation. All the handsome 
church buildings, the vested choirs, the 
eloquent preachers, the full congregations, 

The Church and the Hour 115 

would ''like the cloudy fabric of a vision leave 
not a rack behind, " if once the race lost sight 
of that faint gleam — on the clouds is it? Or 
shining from a land very far off, beyond the 
confines of sense? But so long as that craving 
endures, churches will be built, — and perhaps 
the building of them will always hurt and 
hamper the freedom of the exploring mind. 

The paradox of the situation reacts pain- 
fully on the hearts of church people, espe- 
cially of officials. How can they imperil their 
hold on the community which supports the 
Church and all its works, by joining forces 
with those who would menace the very basis 
on which that community rests? It is not in 
most cases a crude question with clergymen of 
retaining their jobs, though this consideration 
has to come in; it is rather a question of the 
enterprises which they father. And there are 
many drawn to the Socialist faith who, for one 
or the other reason, do not dare to join us. 

At least three clergymen of good standing 
in their respective communions have avowed 
this to the writer within the year. ''Wait till 
I educate my children," said one. "I do not 
wish to lose the power for good, and indirectly 

Ii6 The Church and the Hour 

for socialism, which I now exert through an 
academic chair/' said the second. ''You see,'* 
sighed the third, "we carry on schools, and 
if I were to join the socialist party, those 
schools would be ruined." 

Lamentable enough. Yet even in these 
cases the reasons for hesitation were not 
wholly ignoble. Mere counsels of prudence 
and timidity would never have prevailed with 
these honest and devoted men. 

Further conversation revealed the strong 
feeling in all of them, — and it is a feeling very 
wide-spread, — that while socialism was doubt- 
less the true economic doctrine, the socialist 
movement in America was too materialistic, 
autocratic, and quarrelsome for churchmen to 
join without endorsing a spirit which they 
were bound to disapprove. The confusion of 
motive was very bad for them, and for us. 

What to do about the situation? Well, we 
are not concerned to-day with answers,- - 
and my space is gone. 

One trouble is that Nature expects us to be 
enthusiastic about a number of things at 
once, and we all find it hard to obey. We can- 
not respond to the amplitude of her demands. 

The Church and the Hour 117 

We do not manage half as well as Humpty 
Dumpty in Alice, who had trained himself 
to believe as many as ten impossible things 
before breakfast; we can hardly ever believe 
more than one at a time. Nature herself does 
many things all at once, but when she desires 
to get a piece of work done by men, says 
Emerson somewhere, she evolves a type of 
people who feel that the achievement of that 
one end is the only thing which matters in the 

So orthodox church people, believing in- 
tensely that the growth of the soul is the only 
important thing, find it hard not to distrust 
the sociaHsts, who so hate cant about the soul 
that they never mention the organ. Orthodox 
socialists meanwhile, thinking it supremely 
important that babies should not make arti- 
ficial flowers, find it hard not to be a little 
contemptuous of people who stay aloof from 
the great modern struggle for economic 

Yet there is no logical reason why socialists 
should not care for spiritual values, and 
religious people care for social justice. There 
is every reason why they should, for the indica- 

ii8 The Church and the Hour 

tions are that Nature has both at heart, and 
that neither cause can in the long run flourish 
without the other. Perhaps sociahsts and 
Christians alike will learn this some day. So 
far as the Church is concerned, there is always 
that strong and growing minority. Give us 

In England, they say that the advance of 
socialism depends largely on the church vote. 
Ten more years here in the United States, and 
who knows what may happen? Especially if 
socialists should get more in the habit of 
acknowledging that the soul is of importance. 


Everyone knows that religion is under- 
going a social revival. Where our fathers 
agonized over sins of the inner man, we 
lament our social crimes. Where they 
analyzed their relations to God, we analyze 
our relations to our brothers. Perhaps we 
are less conscious than the Puritans were of 
loving Him whom no man hath seen at any 
time, — but we are a great deal more conscious 
of loving our fellow-men. 

The change of attitude may entail loss as 
well as gain. If it means pragmatic indiffer- 
ence to the things of the spirit, it means loss. 
If it means that anything, however lovely and 
sacred, supplants in the soul the supreme 
desire for the Living God, it cuts life at the 
heart-root, and though the plant may still 
seem green and fresh for a time, slow death is 
on the way. There is reason to fear that 
modem social feeling does have these bad 


120 The Church and the Hour 

tendencies sometimes. The quest for union 
with Eternal Love is a stem and fearsome 
thing, and men are always seeking facile 
substitutes. So they try to replace this quest 
by a vague humanitarian ardor, press the 
sure truth that laborare est orare to the point 
of eliminating orare altogether, and make a 
religion out of ministering to the poor and 
working for social justice. When they feel 
the need for more contemplation, as every- 
body does at times, they betake them if they 
can to the great woods and relax pleasantly 
as they enjoy Nature. These people are 
repeating in modem fashion the specious error 
of the old "Quietists, " whom Ruysbroek so 
dreaded in the fourteenth century. For they 
are without that "eternal hunger which shall 
never more be satisfied ; it is an inward craving 
and hankering of the loving power and the 
created spirit after an imcreated Good." 
''Fruitive love," which is the old mystic's 
final phrase for the ideal life, is denied to 
them: Instead of this, they "enter into rest 
through mere nature . . . and this rest may 
be found and possessed within themselves by 
all creatures, without the grace of God. . . . 

The Church and the Hour 121 

In this bare vacancy, the rest is pleasant and 
great.'* . . . ''This rest is in itself no sin," 
says Ruysbroek, but it has no relation to ''the 
supernatural rest which one possesses in God.'* 
However much such people may be addicted 
to good works, they can never, he says, enter 
the arcana. 

A condition like this is lamentable and 
superficial. Yet no one would lose out from 
religion that intense social preoccupation 
which is now seizing on it. For a mighty 
force is regenerating the whole body of the 
Church. The recovery of social emphasis in 
the spiritual life is the great means by which 
our age is getting "back to Christ," who in 
nearly all His teachings was primarily con- 
cerned with mens' relations to one another. 
We can pray the Lord's Prayer as it has not 
been prayed since the days of the Master, 
and we are learning the force of the sequence 
in the petitions. "Hallowed be Thy Name": 
the attainment of a lofty, holy, hallowed 
conception of God is humanity's first need. 
"Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on 
earth": the coming of the Kingdom, the true 
social order over which God can reign un- 

122 The Church and the Hour 

challenged and supreme, precedes the doing 
of the Will, which is the personal, intimate ful- 
fillment, of the Divine life within. And then, 
descending to the present level from that 
aspiration toward ultimate ideals which 
prayer must never forfeit or postpone, the 
petitions for immediate needs. " Give us this 
DAY our daily bread " : let all himianity receive 
the physical nourishment which it requires, 
"Forgive as we forgive," — we are negatively 
indulgent enough sometimes toward sinners 
but do we forgive them quite as we want 
God to forgive us? *^Lead us not into 
temptation, deliver us from evil,'' — and our 
whole industrial system adapted it would seem 
almost deliberately to tempt the strong and 
to betray the weak! The great petitions are 
a social program in themselves, which if we 
live as we pray will carry us far indeed toward 
expressing the Mind of Christ in a new order 
of Christian living. 

No, we cannot give up our social vision 
and we may not give up our ancient quest. 
Rightly understood, each fulfills the other. 
And in one special way they meet. It is the 
Way of Prayer, modeled on the Prayer of 

The Church and the Hour 123 

the Lord, the Way of Intercession. Through 
intercession, the old type of religion is one 
with the new, and aspiration rises Godward 
even while tenderness holds humanity in its 

Intercession is the counterpart in the life 
within of social work in the Hfe without. Of 
all effective work it is the soul. In vain does 
the Church create social service commissions, 
and announce fairly drastic programs of social 
reform. In vain does the community estab- 
lish associations to fight every evil under the 
sun, organize efficient relief for its social 
victims, and grope toward new industrial 
ideals. All this is good, and one rejoices that 
whatever a man's tastes and convictions, there 
is a place for him in the social crusade. It is 
good, it is necessary; but at times it all turns 
to ashes in the mouth. We look abroad, and 
*' brothers" in the awkward words of a well- 
meaning hymn, are still ''engaging." We 
look at home, and we know that nobody is 
living as St. Francis would live, or St. John. 
Are we, for that matter, living as Jesus would 
have us live? Here is a graver question: 
whose conscience is wholly free? Futility and 

124 The Church and the Hour 

helplessness press us down. In the night- 
silence, our fussy energies seem pretty poor 
things, pretty useless. 

And all the while we have power — sure 
power — power that goes straight to the mark. 
Truly, truly, Christ says to us, Whatsoever 
ye ask in My Name, I will do it. 

Whatsoever! And what are we asking? 
Let us examine our prayers. How languid 
they are, how perfunctory, and alas! how 
often selfish! Sometimes one feels that men's 
prayers must sadden God even more than 
their sins. Prayer is the deepest and surest 
measure of personaHty. As men pray, so 
they really are. For people do pray even in 
these imbelieving days for what they want 
intensely. When a dear friend is in peril, 
they pray. When they encoimter personal 
crisis, they pray. When they see a glorious 
sunset, they instinctively lift their hearts to 
the Source of Light. But prayer must be 
more than instinct or sudden emotion, it 
must be the habit of the disciplined Christian 
life. A force more penetrating and powerful 
than gravitation or electricity is entrusted to 
us, and we are responsible for the steady use 

The Church and the Hour 125 

of It and its direction to the noblest ends. Do 
men look to wide horizons, do they ask great 
things? Or is their inward life self -centered 
even while the outer may be filled with fine 
impersonal interests? If they really want 
social justice they will pray for it; activities 
are not worth much unless they constantly 
turn into upward-leaping desire. 

Some people think themselves religious 
just because they like to pray and to go to 
church. And of course that is something, 
but it is not very much. To spend our pre- 
cious time for prayer, — usually scant at best, 
— in begging for personal gifts and graces or 
in enjoyment of personal consolations is as 
selfish as to spend active lives in pursuit of 
personal gain, and one can be as greedy in 
spiritual affairs as in any others. The time 
can go in asking for health or wealth or suc- 
cess or affection or pleasure or peace; it can 
go in asking similar gifts for friends, which 
is very much better. But do most people 
get farther than their own circle? Does 
their prayer reveal that the rescue of chil- 
dren from wage-slavery, of men from condi- 
tions that stifle manhood, of women from 

126 The Church and the Hour 

the manifold evils which weigh them down, is 
a potent and passionate desire? Prayer is 
the desire most native to the soul tiimed God- 
ward, and egotism at the center of the soul's 
life is an awful thing. 

It is the impression of such egotism conveyed 
by the life of many mystics and holy men, 
which has caused, often unjustly, the reaction 
against them. But how great, how subtle, 
the danger! The best way of escaping it 
without running into the opposite danger is 
the practice of intercession. For by inter- 
cession, life at the center, life in the sanctuary, 
may be purified from self and lost that it may 
be found. Also, life is energized; for right 
praying involves hard thinking, and the mind 
addicted to indolent evasion will never kindle 
the sacred fire. God sets no limit to audacious 
importimity. Men may ask for the greatest 
things, for the industrial and political peace 
of the world, for imiversal justice. But if 
their prayers are to prevail, they must avoid 
all lazy generalizations, they must have point 
and precision of aim. In proportion as they 
attain breadth, point, and ardor, the hidden 
life turned inward will be cleansed from selfish- 

The Church and the Hour 127 

ness and the life turned outward from arro- 
gance or discouragement, and the kingdom 
will come faster than men dream. 

There is secret sacrifice involved in placing 
special emphasis on Intercession. It is the 
sacrifice demanded by an age peculiarly called 
to labor for social ideals. Petition at highest 
is only a small part of prayer. Praise is a 
blessed duty, confession of sin a necessity: 
above all other forms comes that pure single 
concentrated Practise of the Presence of God 
whence flows all peace and power. Consider- 
ing the richness of the life hid with Christ in 
God through prayer, one cannot marvel if 
it drew men of old away from all earthly pur- 
suits to an exclusive consecration. But the 
Via Contemplativa is to-day the way for very- 
few; and perhaps precisely in the sacrifice of 
dearer energies, the subordination of possible 
hidden joys, lies part of our expiation for com- 
mtmal guilt. The joys may wait on that 
great day when the redeemed of the Lord 
shall come to Zion with songs and with ever- 
lasting joy upon their heads. Here and now, 
God may best be fotind by those who in the 
secret life forever deny in part even their 

128 The Church and the Hour 

higher desires, that they may Hft the sorrow- 
ful needs of the world up to his Heart of 

Through Intercession, the handicapped, the 
sick, the feeble, the inhibited from action, 
can find their place, can march shoulder to 
shoulder with the vigorotis, or perhaps can 
lead the march, in the inspiriting advance 
toward the Kingdom of Justice. Legislative 
reforms, and greater things, may be achieved 
by desires rising from some obscure bed of 
pain. Yet this is no mere work for private 
initiative, it is also a work for the Church. 
Men grope to discover how an aroused Chris- 
tian community can react on the social situa- 
tion through its ecclesiastical machinery; the 
answer is difficult, opinions vary. Some say 
that the clergy should throw themselves into 
politics, some that they should stay out. 
Some want institutional churches, some de- 
spise them. Some wish the Church to inau- 
gurate social service under her own name, 
others think that if she does she will simply 
chip in at cross purposes to wiser secular agen- 
cies. But one thing the churches surely can 
do without harming or interfering, — they can 

The Church and the Hour 129 

summon people to pray for social justice, and 
they can teach them how. In a parish or a 
diocese, or in the Church universal, why should 
not a Novena or a Week of Prayer be now and 
then proclaimed against some shocking evil 
— child labor, or the White Slave traffic? 
If Christian people threw themselves heartily 
and reverently into such a scheme and got 
themselves ready for prayer by becoming 
intelligent on the issue, what an access to 
zeal would ensue on the merely himian side! 
And in that unseen region whither prayers 
wing their flight, who can tell what forces 
would be set in motion? 

Phillips Brooks used to tell how a number of 
good Episcopalians got together at the time 
of the great Boston fire and said the Litany, 
''And there was a provision in it for every- 
thing under the sun,'* said he, "except for 
a burning city.'' Obviously, this special 
Church has been sadly in need of more flexi- 
bility, and she has been gaining it lately. 
Intercession services are common and in- 
creasingly prized. Cannot they be more 
vigorously turned toward social salvation, 
while losing none of their fervor for missions, 

130 The Church and the Hour 

for parochial ends, for individual needs? 
Will not the numerous Guilds of Prayer 
develop social intercession? One such guild 
at least is especially pledged to pray for the 
reconciliation of classes, and so, whenever a 
great strike or labor war is in progress, hun- 
dreds of people all over the country are en- 
treating, with what ardor God and their 
conscience vouchsafe, not that one side or 
the other may triumph necessarily, but that 
brotherhood may prevail. 

Yet there is no need to wait for corporate 
action. Let every man examine his private 
life. Is he satisfied with the idea God gains 
of him from his prayers? In prayer more 
than in any other pursuit one must be honest ; 
there is danger in pretending to desire what 
one does not really care about. But also one 
may grow. The world-crisis calls men faith- 
fully and fervently to enlarge and energize 
their life of prayer. So the old and the new 
ideals of religious life will be brought into 
unison; so the Mystical Body of Christ will 
come to her own, in power to help and heal. 
Thank God for letting us pray! May we be 
worthy of the Gift and the Summons! 


Thy Kingdom, Lord, we long for, 

Where love shall find its own, 
And brotherhood triumphant 

Our years of pride disown. 
Thy captive people languish 

In mill and mart and mine; 
We lift to Thee their anguish, 

We wait Thy promised Sign! 

Thy Kingdom, Lord, Thy Kingdom, 

All secretly it grows; 
In faithful hearts forever 

His seed the Sower sows. 
Yet ere its consummation 

Must dawn a mighty doom. 
For judgment and salvation 

The Son of Man shall come. 


The Church and the Hour 

If now perchance in tumult 

His destined Sign appear, — 
The Rising of the People, — 

Dispel our coward fear! 
Let comforts that we cherish, 

Let old tradition die; 
Our wealth, our wisdom perish. 

So that He draw but nighl 

In wrath and revolution 

The Sign may be displayed, 
But by Thy grace we'll greet it 

With spirits unafraid. 
The awestruck heart presages 

An Advent dread and sure; 
It hails the hope of ages — 

Its Master in the poor. 

Beyond our fierce confusions, 
Our strife of speech and sword, 

Our wars of class and nation. 
We wait Thy certain Word. 

The Church and the Hour 133 

The meek and poor in spirit 

Who in Thy promise trust 
The Kingdom shall inherit, 

The blessing of the Just. 

The End